Top-class wards near completion

IPSWICH: A topping out ceremony will be held next week to mark the final stage of the construction of a new mental health development at Ipswich Hospital.

The exterior of the �21million development at the Heath Road site for Suffolk Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust (SMHTP) is set to be finished soon and then work will begin on the interior, with the first in-patients expected from May 2011.

Last May regional contractor Kier Eastern began work on constructing four new wards, including a psychiatric intensive care unit (PICU) and a dementia assessment ward, on the Ipswich Hospital site. There will be no high or medium secure wards in Ipswich and the PICU will be an enclosed ward.

The firm has also been developing an 11-bed low-secure unit at St Clements Hospital. Of the 32 acres at the St Clements site owned by SMHTP, all but five acres are currently up for sale.

Guests at the ceremony will sign a large whiteboard, which will then be permanently encased in the building’s structure to mark this stage in the history of the project.

Kier Eastern director Nick Bache said: “Kier Eastern is delighted to be working with the trust on modernising its facilities in Ipswich. This is an important milestone, not only in the construction process but also for everyone who has worked hard for many years to ensure these top-class facilities are provided for Suffolk. We are pleased to report the project is progressing on schedule.”

David Leckie, project director for the SMHPT, said: “This milestone in the project marks a momentous occasion for the SMHP, after many years of dedicated work to improve the facilities. We are delighted with how the buildings are beginning to look and we can’t wait to operate in the new and much improved wards.

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“These vital developments have also helped the trust to achieve a number of its long term objectives, which are to modernise its services, become a model employer and promote a positive image of mental health.”

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