Trust to fund new beds for male mental health patients at secure unit in Ipswich

The St Clements site in Ipswich, where Foxhall House is based. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

The St Clements site in Ipswich, where Foxhall House is based. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

The region’s mental health trust is creating five new beds at a unit in Ipswich for male patients who have been through the criminal justice system as part of a £3.85 million redesign of its secure services.

The new en-suite rooms will open at Foxhall House, on the St Clement’s Hospital site, this month, increasing beds from 11 to 16. Other parts of the unit are also being refurbished.

The expansion is part of a major, two-year transformation of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust’s (NSFT) secure services, which are commissioned by NHS England, working hand in hand with the Ministry of Justice.

Foxhall House is a low secure unit which cares for men who have come into contact with the criminal justice system and have an acute mental health need, such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, psychosis, severe depression or personality disorder. The majority of patients in NSFT’s secure services come to a unit from a court, prison or detention centre, and will remain in supported care as they serve their criminal sentence.

The units offer assessment, NHS treatment and rehabilitation, with the aim of promoting recovery and reducing the risk of reoffending.

The transformation project has recently seen the delivery of a first-of-its kind low and medium secure blended service for women in England.

As part of the scheme, the trust will be looking at all of its beds across Norfolk and Suffolk, which will be increasing from 80 to 82, and reclassifying some in line with the demand.

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Karen Clements, locality service manager for secure services, said some patients could spend many years in a secure unit.

She added: “As the units act not only as a hospital but as their home during that time, it is vital that we make sure the environment is a positive one.

“More comfortable surroundings promote a better state of mind and, in turn, encourage more effective relationships with staff. All of this can help to diffuse potentially difficult situations without the need for physical interventions.

“At the same time, we are also reconfiguring our beds across the whole service to make sure we have the right number of each type, in the right place. Recent years have seen an increase in demand for low secure beds rather than medium secure, which is why we are extending the ward at Foxhall House, for example.

“Making these changes will help us ensure that patients can receive safe, high quality care closer to home without the need to be sent out of area for assessment, treatment and rehabilitation.”