Mental health facility set for £40m overhaul as plans for new wards lodged

Hellesdon Hospital. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Hellesdon Hospital. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2018

Plans for a £40m overhaul of one of the region’s largest mental health facilities have been lodged, which will eventually increase its patient capacity.

Chloe Smith MP visits the site of the proposed new wards at Hellesdon Hospital. Pictured with Jonath

Chloe Smith MP visits the site of the proposed new wards at Hellesdon Hospital. Pictured with Jonathan Warren, Chief Executive of NSFT. Picture: NSFT - Credit: Archant

The Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, the region’s mental health trust, has submitted plans to Broadland Council to build five new ward buildings at Hellesdon Hospital.

Should the plans be approved it would see four of the existing wards relocated and a brand new 16-bed ward created, taking the total bed capacity of the hospital to 80.

Funded largely by a £38m government grant, the trust hopes to have the new buildings operational within the space of the next four years – which it says will reduce the number of patients travelling outside of the area for treatment.

Mason Fitzgerald, deputy chief executive of NSFT, said: “This exciting project will see us develop a next generation mental health facility to further improve the safety and quality of care we are able to provide for local people.

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“Evidence shows that creating an environment which is comfortable, welcoming and helps service users to feel safe can have a positive impact on their recovery and lead to better clinical outcomes.

“The state-of-the-art unit will also increase the total number of beds available at Hellesdon, in turn reducing the number of patients travelling outside of the area for treatment.”

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The plans, which were submitted this week, were drawn up by architects Hoopers, with the aim of also creating spaces within the site, off Drayton High Road, to aid support, interaction and recovery.

Workshops were held in the spring of this year to influence initial designs, which will continue in the coming weeks, with the trust inviting feedback on the plans from carers, patients and stakeholders to help the project as it develops.

With the planning application now submitted, the trust will submit an outline business case for the development in October, with a full business case submitted in late summer 2022.

If the case is agreed and planning permission secured, construction work will begin the same year – with hopes of the new wards being open in late summer 2024.

The proposals would also see additional staff recruited, a spokesman for the trust said.

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