Step closer to £19.6 million ward scheme

A £19.6 million plan for six new mental health wards in Suffolk moved one step closer today.

A £19.6 million plan for six new mental health wards in Suffolk moved one step closer today.

The scheme involves a new low-security ward on the St Clements site, moving four wards to purpose-built and refurbished accommodation at Ipswich Hospital and refurbishing a ward at Wedgwood House, on the West Suffolk Hospital site in Bury St Edmunds.

The scheme has won approval from the NHS East of England strategic health authority board to go through to the final stage of the NHS process.

“This is a significant step forward,” said Mark Halladay, chief executive of Suffolk Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust.

“The existing wards at St Clement's and one at Bury are outdated and in poor condition.

“Although our staff do an excellent job in those surroundings we need modern, high-quality wards.

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“By refurbishing and building new accommodation we will dramatically improve the environment for hospital users and staff.

“It will also ensure we meet national standards and the expectations of the community.”

Neil McKay, chief executive of the NHS East of England, said: “We are delighted the plan has been signed off and that the mental health trust can take it forward to provide modern, high-quality wards for hospital users and staff in Suffolk.”

The full business case will be submitted in next autumn with the wards expected to be opened by December 2010.

A spokesman for Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust said: “This is very good news for our community and for the NHS in Suffolk.

“The hospital site is developing into a health campus with state-of-the-art new buildings, such as the Garrett Anderson Centre, which will open in January next year.”

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