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Patients will feel valued and safe as new mental health unit opens

PUBLISHED: 11:38 28 June 2019 | UPDATED: 12:12 29 June 2019

Ches Hawkins, the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust's lead nurse for west and south Norfolk, at the Samphire Ward in King's Lynn   Picture: Chris Bishop

Ches Hawkins, the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust's lead nurse for west and south Norfolk, at the Samphire Ward in King's Lynn Picture: Chris Bishop

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A new crisis unit will allow those struggling with mental health issues to feel valued and cared for as they recover.

Ches Hawkins, the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation trust's lead nurse for south and west Norfolk, in a patient's room at the Samphire Ward in King's Lynn   Picture: Chris BishopChes Hawkins, the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation trust's lead nurse for south and west Norfolk, in a patient's room at the Samphire Ward in King's Lynn Picture: Chris Bishop

The £4m Samphire Ward in King's Lynn aims to address concerns that mental health services provided by the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust were inadequate after it was placed in special measures by health watchdog the Care Quality Commission.

Managers say the new 16-bed unit puts patient safety and care at the forefront, while having all mental health services merged together under one roof at Chatterton House will ensure continuity of care.

Ches Hankins, the trust's lead nurse for South and West Norfolk, said the new build would give staff clear lines of sight, meaning they can react to issues much quicker than their previous base at the Fermoy Unit at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

The Samphire Ward in King's Lynn   Picture: Chris BishopThe Samphire Ward in King's Lynn Picture: Chris Bishop

Virtually every inch of the site is scanned by a bank of more than 60 CCTV cameras, monitored 24/7.

Mrs Hankins said a detailed design and build process, which included consultation with patients as well as staff, has seen specially designed furniture and ligature-proofing installed to prevent any risk of self-harm.

"Having a brand new build with a focus on safety will definetly address some of those CQC concerns," she said. "Also, the fact that our staff are working in a fantastic environment means that they can focus much more on paitent care rather than observing the environment."

Staff at the Samphire Ward, in King's Lynn   Picture: Chris BishopStaff at the Samphire Ward, in King's Lynn Picture: Chris Bishop

Pauline Davies, the site's locality manager said the mental health team had been waiting for the ward for some time, with new features such as a purpose-built seclusion area and assessment suite would dramatically improve the team's work.

Mrs Davies said: "This is an absolutely fabulous new facility for West Norfolk, we have been hoping this would happen for quite some time and with a lot of support we've been able to do something which is a landmark in terms of mental health services in West Norfolk."

Patients will begin arriving on July 9, when the unit takes over from the Fermoy. It expects to treat around 170 people a year.

A message from a service user to the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation trust  Picture: Chris BishopA message from a service user to the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation trust Picture: Chris Bishop

Staff at the Samphire Unit in King's Lynn  Picture: Chris BishopStaff at the Samphire Unit in King's Lynn Picture: Chris Bishop

Samphire Ward's logo   Picture: Chris BishopSamphire Ward's logo Picture: Chris Bishop

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