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National praise for Trust's young person's unit

A Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust inpatient unit has been praised for the mental health care and services it provides for young people.

The specialist unit at Airey Close, Lothingland, was assessed by the Quality Network for Inpatient CAMHS (QNIC) on multiple criteria, including environment and facilities, staff and training, care and treatment.

The seven-bed inpatient unit has been providing children and young people's mental health services (CAMHS) since October 2012 and helps young people between the ages of 12 and 18 with a range of mental health related conditions including eating disorders, self harm, stress and anxiety.

The QNIC peer review team, who visited in June, compiled its report after speaking to staff, service users and their families and published its findings this month.

Praise included:
• Parents and young people agreed the unit felt bright and homely
• Young people, parents and carers thought the unit felt safe
• Inspectors impressed to learn service users had been involved in the design of the service from the outset
• The dining room and lounge are decorated well and have a 'very positive feel'
• Parents and carers were positive about the unit calling it 'lovely and tranquil'
• Parents and carers think staff are 'fantastic and supportive'
• Staff morale is good
• Care planning is collaborative with young people and parents very involved
• Good links with schools to continue young people’s education

Coastal CAMHS Service Manager, Andy Goff, said: "The team at Airey Close has worked extremely hard to create an environment in which youngsters feel safe and comfortable, while they are cared for and receive treatment.

"We're delighted to receive such extremely positive feedback in such a short space of time and to hear that parents, young people and the review team recognize the unit provides young people with a safe and positive environment.

"We have continually involved young people and carers in every aspect of the implementation and development of Airey Close and it was pleasing that our committed and capable staff impressed the review team with their positivity, care planning and ability to provide a positive atmosphere for young people in our care, and their families."

The unit is staffed by a multi-disciplinary team including a consultant psychiatrist, a psychologist, family therapists, occupational therapist, social workers, and nurses. Airey Close also maintains strong links with schools so that young people can continue their education.

Therapy classes include: discovering yourself, body image, art therapy, self awareness, social comfort and interaction, art and music.

The QNIC peer review team consisted of a project worker, psychiatrist, service manager, social worker and clinical psychologist.

Consultant, Sarah Maxwell, who works with young people at the unit, said: "The review team were impressed by how we had become such a positive and settled environment in such a short space of time.

"The average stay for inpatients is 51 days which illustrates how quickly younger service users benefit from their surrounding and the care provided."

The QNIC report also stated: "This was the unit's first QNIC peer review and the review team came away feeling very positive about the overall atmosphere of the unit. Care planning with young people was praised, and feedback was generally very positive, especially around care and treatment.

"The staff were very positive and this really impressed the review team. New management has helped create a more supportive supervision structure and this in turn left staff feeling valued and the unit to have a good morale.

"What really stood out was staff training, which was a recent development and provided excellent training opportunities for staff."​