Shake up of secure services at region’s mental health trust aims to manage demand

The Norvic Clinic, in Norwich, run by Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT). Photo: NSFT

The Norvic Clinic, in Norwich, run by Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT). Photo: NSFT - Credit: NSFT

Work has begun on a £2.2m project to redevelop and improve the region's mental health trust's secure services for male patients.

Whitlingham Ward, Hellesdon Hospital, run by Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT). Staff

Whitlingham Ward, Hellesdon Hospital, run by Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT). Staff Tawanda Mutizwa and Anne Blythe prepare a room ready to welcome a service user. Photo: NSFT. - Credit: NSFT

The work will see the Norvic Clinic in Norwich, which is currently made up of four separate wards and a seclusion area, reconfigured into three wards with integrated seclusion facilities.

It is hoped the changes will help Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) manage demand for secure services more effectively while also improving facilities for patients. The first phase of the work will see the eight-bedded Thorpe Ward and the eight-bedded Acle Ward, which previously catered for female patients, amalgamated into a 16-bedded low security unit, which has yet to be named. Catton Ward will then be extended from 10 to 18 beds and a seclusion room created within the ward. Along with the 16-bedded Drayton Ward, both wards will provide medium secure care for assessment, treatment and rehabilitation.

Karen Clements, NSFT's locality manager for secure services, said: 'Making these changes will help us ensure that service users can receive safe, high quality care closer to home without the need to be sent out of area for assessment, treatment and rehabilitation. They will also improve the facilities, which is vitally important as many may remain within the units for several years while we work intensely with them to help them recover better mental health.'

The year-long project comes as part of a wider £3.85m redesign of NSFT's secure services. So far, low and medium secure female services have been amalgamated. The trust was the first in the UK to introduce the blended women's service, now based at Whitlingham Ward, in Hellesdon Hospital.

Foxhall House, in Ipswich, run by Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT). Photo: NSFT

Foxhall House, in Ipswich, run by Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT). Photo: NSFT - Credit: NSFT


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Ms Clements said the women's ward meant the trust could be flexible with its bed usage. She said: 'There has traditionally been greater need for low secure beds rather than medium security, with the latter at times sitting empty and the former oversubscribed. And we have less demand for female beds than male overall. So in this way we are not only improving the environment for patients and staff, but we are also using NHS resources more wisely with an innovative new approach and service.'

The total number of secure beds provided by the trust will increase from 80 to 82.

Karen Clements, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) locality manager for secure services

Karen Clements, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) locality manager for secure services. Photo: NSFT - Credit: NSFT

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