Go-ahead for £9m mental health unit
SHAUN LOWTHORPE Health chiefs yesterday gave the green light to a new £9.4m scheme to build a new care unit for people with serious mental illnesses in Norfolk.The project, funded by Norfolk and Waveney Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, will provide a purpose- built combined psychiatric intensive care unit (PICU) and low secure unit on the Hellesdon Hospital site in Norwich.
Health chiefs yesterday gave the green light to a new £9.4m scheme to build a new care unit for people with serious mental illnesses in Norfolk.
The project, funded by Norfolk and Waveney Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, will provide a purpose- built combined psychiatric intensive care unit (PICU) and low secure unit on the Hellesdon Hospital site in Norwich.
The new unit will provide ten PICU beds and 12 low secure beds for people experiencing serious episodes of mental illness.
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Currently, people who need PICU placements receive their treatment outside Norfolk, and the development means that they will be able to receive their care more locally.
The facility, which has secured the backing of the East of England Strategic Health Authority, will work in tandem with the Yare Ward low secure unit - the only NHS-provided, dedicated low-secure service in Norfolk and Waveney - which opened in January and will bring the total of beds up to 31.
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Staff aim to help people get better more quickly while maintaining their safety. Patients are moved through the system to the most appropriate environment when they are ready and are given the best possible support at each stage.
Local primary care trusts are also committed to supporting the services being delivered locally.
Programme manager Denise Zandbergen said: “This is fantastic news for patients who, until now, have had to travel for this intensive service. Having a facility in Norfolk means there will be less stress resulting from them being away from their families and, hopefully, stop people from losing contact with their own lives and potential.
“This holistic view - looking at the whole of the patient and their needs - helps to reduce the length of time they need in such specialist mental health accommodation.”
The building will provide two self-contained units, all with single rooms and ensuites, which allows for the greatest flexibility to accommodate different numbers of men and women. There will be shared resources across the units, including therapy rooms and a gym. There will also be enclosed gardens.
Work will start in January and the new unit is set to open in April.