Work has commenced on the construction of the county’s first Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) on Devon Partnership NHS Trust’s Wonford House site in Exeter.
At the moment, people who require intensive treatment and support for their mental health needs have to travel outside the county – often very long distances. Last year alone, 116 placements were made to a PICU outside Devon.
Construction of the ten-bed PICU, which will support both men and women, is expected to take about a year and the new facility should become fully operational early in 2019.
Commenting on the development, Chief Executive of Devon Partnership NHS Trust, Melanie Walker, said: “We are delighted that the project is now under way. Having our own PICU in Devon will make a huge difference to the lives of people who require a spell of intensive care and treatment to support their mental health needs. Travelling long distances can be extremely traumatic for them and their families at a time that is already very challenging.
“We are doing everything we can to reduce the number of people who have to travel outside Devon for any kind of mental health care and, later in 2019, we will also be opening a brand new Mother and Baby Unit on the Wonford House site. These developments represent a huge step forward for mental health services in the county and we are extremely proud of them.”
Interserve, the international support services and construction group, is the contractor delivering the new unit. Divisional Director, Paul Gale said “We are very proud to be involved in such an important scheme which will transform lives and make a difference for people in the south west. We are looking forward to building on our strong relationship with Devon Partnership NHS Trust to deliver this fantastic facility.”
Photo: Chief Executive Melanie Walker (left) alongside our Chair, Julie Dent, and Divisional Director at Interserve, Paul Gale.