Beds reopen at Ipswich mental health unit after safety improvements

Martyn Kemp is pictured inside a revamped clinic room at the Suffolk Rehabilitation and Recovery Ser

Martyn Kemp is pictured inside a revamped clinic room at the Suffolk Rehabilitation and Recovery Service (SRRS) Picture: NORFOLK AND SUFFOLK NHS FOUNDATION TRUST - Credit: NORFOLK AND SUFFOLK NHS FOUNDATION TRUST

A mental health unit in Ipswich has been made safer for patients thanks to a £300,000 refurbishment.

The work, at the Suffolk Rehabilitation and Recovery Service (SRRS) in Foxhall Road, is part of an ongoing programme to improve buildings run by Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) following concerns raised by the health watchdog.

Three beds at the unit, which offers inpatient support to people with complex rehabilitation needs, were temporarily shut during the refurbishment, but have now reopened, reducing the risk of patients having to be sent out of area for care.

Taking place over 20 weeks, the revamp has involved introducing measures to reduce the risk of people hanging themselves.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) told NSFT it must take action to remove ligature anchor points when it rated the trust ‘inadequate’ in October 2017.

The work has also seen the unit’s 10 bedrooms improved and toilet and bathroom facilities upgraded.

Clinic rooms have been completely refurbished to meet modern standards, while extra clinical space has also been created, including a dedicated area which will focus on physical health as well as a family room.

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Martyn Kemp, ward manager at SRRS, said: “We are really pleased that this important modernisation project is now complete.

“It has transformed the environment from which we deliver care so that it better meets the needs of our service users, while also improving the experience they have while undergoing rehabilitation. It is also allowing our staff to do their jobs more effectively and efficiently.

“In addition, the project has given us more clinical space which will help us to better meet both the physical and mental health needs of our service users as we prepare them for life outside of a hospital setting.

“Our fantastic staff team are proud to have been part of this valuable piece of work.”

The project comes following a redesign of SRRS’s model of care in 2015, which saw it change from being regarded as a ‘home for life’ to focus more on rehabilitation, recovery and promoting living outside of hospital.

As a result, average length of stay has been reduced significantly, while every long-stay patient has been discharged and is receiving the support they need to live in the community.

The refurbishment has been carried out to match this new model of care.