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Major £2.2m improvement project begins

​Work has begun on a £2.2m project to redevelop and improve Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust’s (NSFT) secure services for male patients.

The work will see the Norvic Clinic in Norwich, which is currently made up of four separate wards and a seclusion area, reconfigured into three wards with integrated seclusion facilities.

The changes will help NSFT manage demand for secure services more effectively while also improving facilities for patients by providing extra en suite bedrooms and a more modern environment. Increasing the size of the wards will also make them easier to staff and increase their sustainability.

The first phase of the work will see the eight-bedded Thorpe Ward and the eight-bedded Acle Ward, which previously catered for female patients, amalgamated into a 16-bedded low security unit, which has yet to be named.

Catton Ward will then be extended from 10 to 18 beds and a seclusion room created within the ward. Along with the 16-bedded Drayton Ward, both wards will provide medium secure care for assessment, treatment and rehabilitation.

The year-long project comes as part of a wider £3.85 million redesign of NSFT’s secure services. So far, low and medium secure female services have been amalgamated, while an additional five low secure male beds will open at Foxhall House in Ipswich next month, increasing the total number on site to 16.

As part of the transformation, the total number of secure beds provided by the Trust will increase from 80 to 82. These beds will provide assessment, treatment and rehabilitation for people who have a mental health need such as bipolar disorder, psychosis or personality disorder and who have come into contact with the criminal justice system.

Karen Clements, Locality Service Manager for Secure Services with NSFT, said: “Making these changes will help us ensure that service users can receive safe, high quality care closer to home without the need to be sent out of area for assessment, treatment and rehabilitation.

“They will also improve the facilities in which our service users receive care, which is vitally important as many may remain within the units for several years while we work intensely with them to help them recover better mental health.

“Providing care from a comfortable environment encourages more effective relationships with staff, which can help to diffuse potentially difficult situations that may arise without the need to increase physical or procedural security.”