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New mental health unit – phase one completed

Posted on 18th October, 2006

The first phase of a £2.7m project to modernise mental health services on the North Devon District Hospital site has now been completed. The finished development will see acute inpatient services for adults being completely modernised and, importantly, co-located in one dedicated area on the hospital site for the first time. As Modern Matron, Neil Easton, explains:  “Until now, we have had to make do with two fairly run-down wards (Brownlees and Williams) that are quite a long distance apart and located on different floors of the hospital.  In terms of providing a coherent and effective service for our patients and making the best possible use of our staff, this has been far from ideal.   “This development will change all of that, enabling us to deliver a better service from a more modern and more appropriate environment.  The first phase of the project was to build a brand new unit adjacent to Williams Ward and this has now been completed.  Our staff and service users moved in a few weeks ago and it looks and feels fantastic – clean, bright, safe and exactly the sort of place in which we should be delivering care and treatment in the 21st century.  We are all delighted with it.” The next phase of the development will be a major refurbishment of the now vacated Williams Ward and it is hoped that the whole project will be completed next summer, when a formal opening ceremony will take place.  In due course the old Brownlees Ward will no longer be used for psychiatric care but will provide space for use by another hospital department. The finished unit, comprising two18 bed wards, will comply with the very latest standards for inpatient accommodation, including the provision of single rooms and women-only areas.  In addition, four of the unit’s beds will be equipped with extra care facilities - which means that more intensive assessment, treatment and nursing can be provided.  There will also be a range of day facilities including
counselling, group and activity rooms and day lounges. Ro Day, Chair of North Devon District Hospital, said:  “Mental health is very much an issue that is moving up the NHS agenda, both locally and nationally, and this is a very positive step forward.  We are understandably proud that we will soon have a state-of-the-art inpatient facility at the hospital to provide care and treatment for local people.”
Staff and service users are currently thinking about a possible name for the new mental health unit and names for each of the two wards – particularly names that reflect something about North Devon.  Suggestions from members of the public are very much welcomed and should be sent to Neil Easton. Click here to see images of the work.