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£4m improvement project set to begin

​An ambitious £4m project to further improve healthcare in King’s Lynn by bringing the town’s specialist mental health services onto one site is set to begin after planning permission was secured.

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) will create a 16-bed inpatient unit at Chatterton House, in Goodwin’s Road, while also updating existing outpatient facilities as part of a major project designed to transform local mental healthcare. The project is designed to make services safer and more effective, in line with CQC recommendations and the Trust’s continuous improvement agenda.

In addition, a new Section 136 suite will be purpose-built on the site to provide a safe place where people in a mental health crisis who have come into contact with the police can receive care. The modern, state-of-the-art facility will replace the existing suite at the Fermoy Unit, on the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) site, with the annual running costs being met by West Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

The suite will be developed as part of the larger construction project, which will see a connecting area built between two empty wards at Chatterton House, the whole space refurbished to the highest standards and 16 single, en-suite rooms created. Inpatient facilities which are currently based in the Fermoy Unit will then transfer, and will offer care to men and women with conditions such as depression and bipolar disorder.

The Crisis Resolution and Home Treatment teams (CRHT) – also currently at Fermoy – will move onto the site, while ‘alternative to admission’ services will be developed, including day treatment services for people who are well enough to return home but still need some further support.

The project has been made possible following a successful bid for £4m in funding from NHS England, which was led by NSFT in partnership with West Norfolk CCG, and working in collaboration with Norfolk and Waveney Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP). Work is expected to begin in March and be complete in early 2019.

Pauline Davies, NSFT’s West Norfolk Locality Manager, said: “We are delighted that we have now secured planning permission for this exciting project, which will transform the care offered to patients by offering truly integrated mental health services from one site. It will also significantly improve the facilities from which we provide care, as well as allowing us to introduce additional services for patients and their families.

“We are also really pleased that the CCG has confirmed funding for a new Section 136 suite, which will further improve our crisis care facilities by providing a safe, calming and engaging environment for people when they are at their most vulnerable. It will ensure they receive the emergency support they need from our specialist staff while freeing up police officers to return to their duties in the community.

“The new suite will also provide greater privacy and dignity while making it easier for our staff to monitor this vulnerable group and take appropriate action to de-escalate what can be damaging episodes of crisis before they require detention, hospitalisation or specialist referral.”

John Webster, Accountable Officer for West Norfolk CCG, said: “The CCG is really pleased to support the development of this service, which will have a major impact on the care these patients will receive in the future. Having the 136 Suite located on this site will mean that treatment will be provided in West Norfolk and stop patients having to be transported to Norwich for their care.”

The Section 136 suite will be housed in a new extension, which will include a lobby area, interview and assessment room and an en-suite bedroom. NSFT has launched a campaign to recruit six additional mental health staff to work at the unit.

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