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The Dragonfly Unit

​The Dragonfly Unit is a 12-bed general adolescent psychiatric unit that has general psychiatric beds and eating disorder beds. The service is for young people who are experiencing an acute mental health disorder that cannot be safely managed in a community setting.

This children and young people’s service opened in September 2016 and was developed as a centre of excellence so that NSFT can provide more specialist care closer to home, in turn reducing the number of 13 to 18-year-olds who need to travel out of the area for treatment. 

The Dragonfly also has an education provision which caters for all ages.

Take a tour of the unit by clicking here.


 What conditions does the service treat?

​We offer services to young people in crisis with serious mental health conditions. However, there will be young people who require more specialised care in other adolescent psychiatric units in England.


 What support do you offer carers, family and friends?

​We encourage involvement in all aspects of care and may offer, if appropriate, systemic family therapy. We have a social worker as part of the team who can signpost you to outside agencies or work directly with families.  

We also offer psychoeducational training and hold regular carer’s groups. Soon after a young person is admitted a carer’s communication plan is completed and this includes the needs of the whole family.


 What age range does this service treat?

​13-18

 Service contact information

Name of Operational ManagerMatthew Richardson
​Responsible Clinician​Dr Ramirez
Service administrative addressThe Dragonfly Unit, Carlton Court
St Peter's Road, Carlton Colville
Lowestoft, Suffolk
NR33 8AG
Office hours (days and times)You can call us 24 hours a day
Telephone number (general)01502 527400

Telephone number (urgent)

If not urgent care, please provide statement

01502 527400

 Referral information for the public

Referral criteria

13-18 years of age

Acute presentation that cannot be managed in a community setting.

The young person must be consenting to admission or detained under the Mental Health Act.

How can people get referred to this service? Referrals are made via the Children and Adolescents Mental Health Service (CAMHS) Tier 3 and Crisis team

What to expect when referred

(eg. How soon will I be seen? Where? What happens next?)

The young person will be assessed by their community team and a referral made for an inpatient bed.

The referral will be assessed by the Dragonfly unit and a decision will be made on the appropriateness of an admission and whether it is in the young person's best interest.

If a suitable bed is not available at the Dragonfly, other inpatient CAMHS provision will be identified.


 Referral information for clinicians – information for health professionals only


Referral criteria (summary)

13-18 years of age

Acute presentation that cannot be managed in a community setting.

The young person must be consenting to admission or detained under the Mental Health Act.

Must have a care co-ordinator allocated.

The current NHS England referral form needs to be fully completed electronically and then sent to the Dragonfly team. The referrer should contact the unit prior to doing this. This is to ensure that the referral form is sent to the appropriate staff members on shift, as all referrals are assessed by the Dragonfly management team and require approval before a bed search can commence. The Dragonfly team do not undertake the bed search; in Norfolk and Waveney the Bed Management Team will undertake this once clinicians have telephoned them to discuss the referral requirements.

If the young person has a learning disability (including autistic spectrum disorders) or a neurodevelopmental disorder, they must have a CETR before a referral can be made. 

Contact details 01502 527400

 Information about ward

Ward details
Unit and/or hospital nameThe Dragonfly Unit, Carlton Court
St Peter's Road, Carlton Colville
Lowestoft, Suffolk
NR33 8AG
Ward nameThe Dragonfly Unit
Ward typeInpatient Unit
Ward addressThe Dragonfly Unit, Carlton Court
St Peter's Road, Carlton Colville
Lowestoft, Suffolk
NR33 8AG
Ward telephone number01502 527400
Accessibility informationThe Unit is wheelchair accessible and has disabled parking at the front of the building.
Service user information 

Arriving at the ward:

What to expect, what to bring, where you can be dropped off / park

You should bring several changes of clothes, including pyjamas (please ensure these are appropriate), along with toiletries and sanitary products. You may like to bring more personal items such as a dressing gown, slippers, photos (no frames), cuddly toys, books, posters and sensory items. Valuable items are discouraged from being brought onto the ward. Any electrical items you bring have to be tested by an electrician before you can use them.

You will have your own box that will be in the nursing office where you can keep certain belongings such as mobile phone chargers, hairdryers, straighteners, aerosols and glass items (i.e. nail varnish, make up bottles, and perfume). These items will have to be singed in and out on each use.

On admission and returning from leave, all belongings will be searched by a member of staff to ensure no prohibited items are brought onto the ward. Laundry facilities are available and will be explained to you on admission.

On the ward:

Schedules, meals

Meal times are:

Breakfast 08:00am – 08:45am

Lunch 12:30pm – 13:15pm

Tea 17:30pm – 18:15pm

Supper 20:00pm – 20:30pm

Visitor information 
Visiting hours

Weekdays Mon-Fri :

3:30pm – 5:30pm

6:30pm – 8:00pm

Weekends :

11:00am – 8:00pm

Visitor information/instructions (eg number of visitors allowed)All visitors under the age of 18 must be chaperoned.
Visitor parking information
(eg availability, cost)
Free parking on site

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