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New community PODS offer easy access to NHS appointments

NHS Community POD Freshwaterweb
New community PODS offer easy access to NHS appointments
12 May 2023

A new pilot project which offers people an alternative location for their healthcare appointments has launched.

National funding to help tackle the backlog of people waiting for hospital procedures has led to consultation PODS being set up in two community locations to improve access to healthcare services across the Island.

The PODS are located at West Wight Sports Centre in Freshwater and Aspire in Ryde and are currently being used for pre-habilitation (pre-hab) assessments for people waiting for a surgical procedure.

Nicola Longson, IOW NHS Trust Director of Operations for Community Services said: “We wanted to do something innovative which supports the health care system across the Island and also improves the experience for people using health services.  Since March we have been testing the suitability of the PODS for health care services, starting with pre-hab assessments, and they are working really well.

“Our plan is to place a third POD in the South Wight area to increase access in this part of the Island and we are exploring how we can work with different partners across the health and care system to open up the use of the PODS for various health and care services.”

The Community Pre-habilitation Service was set up as part of the local NHS COVID-19 recovery plan to make sure people are not only fit and ready for surgery but also to help reduce preventable delays or cancellations and to improve the flow through the healthcare system.

Alison Spearman, Community Pre-hab Team Lead, said: “The consultation PODS have been great for pre-hab assessments. They offer an alternative location which is convenient but also offers privacy. People can meet with a healthcare professional in a relaxed and less clinical environment and have access to a computer should they need online support.

“We hope people will find the PODS a great asset to their local community and a comfortable place to attend a whole range of different health care appointments.”

Feedback on the PODS has been overwhelmingly positive. Island residents have said the locations are convenient and quick and easy to get to, parking has been good and they found the environment was calm and relaxing.

Steve Johnson, Director of Community and Partnership at Aspire said: “The NHS Community POD is a real asset to Aspire as it allows people to engage with multiple agencies at a local level in the heart of our community.”

If you are a local health and care provider and want to find out more about the community PODS and the opportunities available to partner with the IOW NHS Trust on any one of the three POD locations, you can email: or telephone 07425 633 085.

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