This week sees the long-awaited opening of our new Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) The Junipers in Exeter.
The new, 10-bed purpose-built inpatient unit for men and women is based in the grounds of Wonford House.
The Junipers will support people with severe mental health needs who need an intensive spell of care in hospital – usually about 3-4 weeks. Currently these people have to travel outside the county for their care and treatment, as do their families and loved ones when visiting them. Three of the ten beds have been commissioned by our colleagues at Livewell Southwest for people from the Plymouth area.
The unit benefits from the support of psychologists two days a week, two occupational therapists and four occupational therapist assistants. Dr Annabel Walmsley, Consultant Psychiatrist on the PICU says: "This is an incredibly exciting time for everyone associated with this project. I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in making it happen - from the early days of discussing the feasibility of building a PICU in Devon a few years ago, right through to today. It’s been a wonderful team effort and people with lived experience, who have played a major role in shaping the unit and the service, deserve a particular vote of thanks. In many ways, this is the start of the journey and we can’t wait to start admitting our first users of the service next week. The Junipers represents a huge step forwards in terms of supporting more people close to home and it is a vital new resource to have here in the south west."