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New Acute Mental Health Inpatient Centre at Belfast City Hospital

The gardens at the new Acute Mental Health Inpatient Centre at Belfast City Hospital The gardens at the new Acute Mental Health Inpatient Centre at Belfast City Hospital
By Conor McParland

BELFAST Trust has opened a new Acute Mental Health Inpatient Centre at Belfast City Hospital.

This major investment in mental health care and purpose-built modern facility will support the development of the Belfast Trust’s acute mental health service in one location, having previously been provided at the Mater and Knockbracken sites. The decision to base the centre at Belfast City Hospital is intended to reduce the stigma of mental health and ensuring patients are close to clinical services they may require.

The new centre will provide 80 acute mental health en-suite bedrooms including six psychiatric intensive care beds. The centre consists of five separate interconnecting buildings arranged around a cloistered central courtyard and communal and administration areas.

All aspects of the design have been carefully considered – including; colours, lighting, materials, furniture, fixtures and fittings – to ensure that the surrounding environment enhances the overall inpatient experience.

The service will continue to offer the highest standards of treatment and evidence-based interventions for patients experiencing an acute phase of mental illness previously provided at other sites.

Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA welcomed the centre’s opening.

“The patients now have a facility which is fit-for-purpose and will deliver the optimal therapeutic treatment to support their rehabilitation. It is evident every last detail of the design process – of the building and the services – has been carefully considered,” she said.

“The Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, their staff and contractors, are to be congratulated for delivering such an amazing facility, and I wish them well for next week, when they will be receiving a full complement of 80 patients.

“The issue of adequate support, with particular reference to in-patient treatment, is never far from the headlines and, so, I sincerely hope the patients find the new facility one in which they can recover in the unit’s peaceful environment.”

Mel Carney, Interim Co-Director, Mental Health Services at Belfast Trust, said: “We have had mental health provided across three sites in Belfast and we are now re-providing all of our acute mental health beds in one site. This modern facility has wards designed around gardens and bright spaces. The building has been developed through learning from best practice across the UK and consulting service users.”

“We believe this will make a significant contribution to the mental health of the population of Belfast and we believe the environment we are providing here will support the program of care we deliver. Our service users and their families can be proud of this building, and that is something they deserve.”

Peter Sloan, Consultant in Mental Health, Belfast Trust, added” “The treatment of mental illness has changed significantly in the past 20 years. We now pride ourselves on being recovery focused and being able to deliver the majority of our treatments in a community setting. There is, however, a group of patients who will require treatment in an inpatient setting and we believe this new state of the art unit will provide the setting for their recovery.”

“Mental Health services are unfortunately associated with stigma and we are hopeful this new centre will move towards destigmatising mental health problems. Situating the centre on a general hospital site in the heart of the community and calling it the Acute Mental Health Inpatient Centre is a step towards removing that sigma from society.”

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