Support grows for mental health move

IPSWICH Hospital is being urged to support proposals to move mental health wards on to its Heath Road site.

IPSWICH Hospital is being urged to support proposals to move mental health wards on to its Heath Road site.

The Evening Star revealed earlier this year that the Suffolk Mental Health Partnership Trust (SMHPT) wants to move four wards to redundant areas of Ipswich Hospital.

Now, the hospital's director of estate and facilities, Steve Harrup, has gained approval from fellow hospital chiefs to back the plans which “appear to offer benefits in relation to patient care and economy of operations to both trusts and the local health economy”.

The £21million planned mental health services move includes building two new wards and converting an existing building into two others at Ipswich Hospital, building one new ward at St Clement's and converting a ward at Bury St Edmunds' West Suffolk Hospital site.

They would replace all the existing facilities at St Clement's and the one ward at West Suffolk Hospital, which are out of date and do not meet modern standards.

The majority of the St Clement's site will be put up for sale. The project, which could be complete by 2010, will be funded 50/50 by money from the government and money raised by the SMHPT by selling assets.

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The SMHPT's chief executive said the new system would ease pressure on Ipswich Hospital beds.

He said there are currently a lot of people on older wards, people with dementia problems and people who go through accident and emergency with mental health problems at the hospital who, with closer partnership working, would be moved to his trust's services.

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