Mental health boost for Suffolk

MULTI-MILLION pound proposals to overhaul mental health services in Suffolk have taken a giant step forward.The plans would see a completely new development built at Ipswich Hospital as well as at nearby St Clements and improvements to existing facilities at Wedgewood House at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds.

MULTI-MILLION pound proposals to overhaul mental health services in Suffolk have taken a giant step forward.

The plans would see a completely new development built at Ipswich Hospital as well as at nearby St Clements and improvements to existing facilities at Wedgewood House at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds.

The business case for the £23.3m project has now been given the go-ahead and it is hoped - subject to approval from the strategic health authority - that work could start in March 2009.

Board members at NHS Suffolk, Suffolk Mental Health Partnership and Ipswich Hospital have all backed the plans.

The project would see the conversion of the Hayward Unit, the demolition of Minsmere House and a new build at Ipswich Hospital while a major part of Sampson House at St Clements would also be demolished and replaced with a new low secure unit.

However concerns have been raised about the number of inpatient beds the new Ipswich development will provide - a drop from 96 to 84.

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Mark Halliday, chief executive of Suffolk Mental Health Partnership, said the project would deliver benefits for all concerned.

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