Mental health services could be moved

MENTAL health bosses are today looking at the possibility of re-locating many of their services on to the county's two main hospital sites.Facilities at St Clement's Hospital in Ipswich are in desperate need of updating and plans had been drawn up to renovate some of the buildings.

MENTAL health bosses are today looking at the possibility of re-locating many of their services on to the county's two main hospital sites.

Facilities at St Clement's Hospital in Ipswich are in desperate need of updating and plans had been drawn up to renovate some of the buildings.

However, recent changes at both West Suffolk Hospital and Ipswich Hospital have meant buildings have become free on their sites.

Robert Bolas, deputy chief executive of the Suffolk Mental Health Partnership Trust (SMHP), said: “New opportunities have arisen which mean land and buildings are now likely to become available on both hospital sites.


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“There is a lot of change in the health service at the moment and the whole system needs to look at how it uses the land we have cost-effectively.

“It also means there would be closer integration between mental health and physical care facilities.

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“A lot of people with severe mental health problems, particularly the elderly, also have physical illnesses as well, so this means they can benefit from being on the same site as physicians.”

Under this new option, a psychiatric intensive care unit (PICU), a forensic ward, two standard 21 bedded wards, and a 21-bed dementia assessment ward would be located at Ipswich Hospital .

A 21-bed dementia assessment ward would be opened on the West Suffolk Hospital site.

As yet, it is unclear exactly which buildings the mental health trust would take on.

Mr Bolas said: “We will be doing a full appraisal of the sites over the next few weeks and looking at all the options.

“We may be able to refurbish some of the buildings but others may need to be new-builds.”

Ipswich Hospital already has vacant buildings at the north end of the site after several of its wards for the elderly were moved in to the south end.

If this option goes ahead it will mean the trust can sell off substantial amounts of the St Clement's site, making extra money for the county's cash-strapped NHS.

Before any changes can be made the trust has to submit detailed plans to both the Suffolk Primary Care Trust and the East of England Strategic Health Authority (SHA).

It is hoped these will be drawn-up by the end of February.

Do you think these proposals are a good idea? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk>

WEBLINK: www.smhp.nhs.uk

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