Mental health ward revamp to cost TEN times original estimate

Hellesdon Hospital. Picture: BILL SMITH/ARCHANT ARCHIVE

Hellesdon Hospital. Picture: BILL SMITH/ARCHANT ARCHIVE - Credit: Archant © 2012

A revamp of a mental health ward which has been closed since March is set to cost in the region of £700,000 - more than 10 times the original estimated cost.

When the Rollesby ward closed last year following damage caused by an undisclosed incident, it was stated that the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust would be spending £60,000 to refurbish it.

It had been hoped the repairs could be completed in time for the ward, which provides a psychiatric intensive care unit, to re-open in December. However, delays in the supply of materials for the refurbishment have seen the re-opening postponed.

And now, it can be revealed that the cost of the project has increased tenfold, with the final bill set to be in the region of £700,000.

A spokeswoman for NSFT said: "As the ward was closed our estates team capitalised on the opportunity to bring on stream a much wider refurbishment and replacement project to further enhance the environment for patients, including improving the courtyard garden, safety work to remove newly identified fixed ligature points and fully mechanically ventilate the ward."

Amy Eagle, interim chief operating officer at NSFT said: “Renovation work started on Rollesby Ward so that our patients can receive the best possible care in safe, therapeutic surroundings.

“When it reopens Rollesby will continue being used as a Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit. We are ensuring that people are supported while the unit is undergoing renovation.”

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The development has led to the trust receiving criticism for a lack of transparency over the scheme, with information about the project's costs not revealed until this point.

A member of the Norfolk and Suffolk Mental Health Crisis campaign, said: "The Rollesby ward only opened in 2012, it is not a 100-year-old Victorian building like other parts of the hospital, so how has it been allowed to be damaged to the point it needs a £700,000 refurbishment?

"And where has the openness and transparency been with the project? It is unbelievable really."

Meanwhile, discussions over using the ward as a single-sex facility for women once it does re-open continue to be held, in a move that would see a ward in Ipswich become the male equivalent. 

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