Mental health boost for Suffolk

MENTAL health patients in Suffolk look set to benefit from £20million of improvements to the service.In the largest ever investment in Suffolk mental health services and proposals for what should be done with the money were due to be discussed today at a meeting of the Local Health Partnership.

MENTAL health patients in Suffolk look set to benefit from £20million of improvements to the service.

In the largest ever investment in Suffolk mental health services and proposals for what should be done with the money were due to be discussed today at a meeting of the Local Health Partnership.

Ten new wards at St.Clement's Hospital are on the agenda to bring the turn of the century hospital up to date to meet new guidelines.

More health care in the community is also being considered to meet the needs of people living in rural areas.


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The project is known as the 'new build' and is due to be completed in the town by mid 2008, which is designed to bring mental health care into the 21st Century.

However some improvements are going to be made within the next 18 months to include the interim replacement of ageing buildings on the St.Clement's site in Foxhall Road.

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David Leckie, director of estates and facilities within the partnership said the wards would have to be replaced to meet the new standards of the National Service Frameworks but he also warned improvements would have to take place in the community as well.

He said: "It is really about improving the services and the environment for patients.

"But things have to be in place in the community as well such as community mental health teams and more inter-relationships with others in the community as well as not keeping people in hospital when they don't need to be.

"The new build project will offer the facilities to support a lot of the clinical measures that are going into place at the moment."

The huge cash injection will mean better provision for mental health patients as well as new buildings.

Margaret Little is locality manager for the LHP. She said aims included making services more available to people living in rural areas in east Suffolk.

"There are still people that feel this is a bad place to come. This means that we will be able to give people the choice," she said.

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