Green light for new £106m mental health unit in Manchester

Scheme is one of 20 hospital upgrades backed by £850m government investment

An artist's impression of the new mental health inpatient facility to be built in the grounds of North Manchester General Hospital

The UK government has given final approval to Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust’s plans to build a new mental health unit for adults at North Manchester General Hospital.

Whitehall bosses have formally approved the Full Business Case (FBC) for the development, a move which will release the necessary capital investment that will enable construction to begin.

This follows approval of the FBC by both the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England & Improvement.

The scheme is part of the Prime Minister’s commitment to upgrade 20 hospitals, backed by a £850m moneypot.

The £105.9m state-of the-art unit will replace the current Park House mental health inpatient unit situated at the hospital.

£91.3m will be funded by central government, with the remaining £14.6m funded by the trust.

The project forms part of an exciting vision for the hospital to improve health and wellbeing for local people over the next 10-15 years.

Work has already begun to clear the development site and building work is expected to start in April, with completion by the end of 2024.

Park House is an inpatient unit providing assessment and treatment for adults and older people with mental health needs, including depression, schizophrenia, psychosis, and dementia.

This upgrade is one of 20 major hospital upgrades we are building with an £850m investment, and it is testament to our mission to remove dormitory accommodation from mental health facilities – a commitment which is backed by a further £400m

The trust became responsible for the delivery of services at Park House in 2017 and immediately recognised it was a priority for improvement, due to its outdated dormitory-style accommodation and limited outdoor space.

The trust has already invested over £3m in refurbishments and enhancements to improve facilities and the environment.

The new unit will feature spacious single bedrooms, each with private en-suite bathrooms, a variety of indoor activity areas, and multiple outside garden spaces.

Plans include:

  • 150 single en-suite bedrooms, over nine single-sex wards, including a purpose-built Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), seven adult acute wards, and one older adults ward
  • An assessment suite, specifically for people needing a place of safety and assessment under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act
  • A variety of internal activity areas and multiple outside garden spaces specifically designed to enhance the environment and aid recovery

Throughout development of the FBC and design process, GMMH has engaged with service users, staff, carers, and the wider North Manchester community, alongside key stakeholders to ensure it is fit for purpose and all plans are thoroughly informed by, and co-created with, the communities the hospital will serve.

Minister for Mental Health, Gillian Keegan, said: “Every person receiving treatment deserves to be treated with dignity and respect and I am determined to ensure everyone who needs help can access high-quality care in a comfortable environment.

“This upgrade is one of 20 major hospital upgrades we are building with an £850m investment, and it is testament to our mission to remove dormitory accommodation from mental health facilities – a commitment which is backed by a further £400m.

“More widely, we are transforming mental health services in England with an additional £2.3billion a year by 2023/24.”

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, added: “This announcement is great news and ensures patients are cared for in the best-possible environment.

The new unit will transform the menta health inpatient experience for our service users, their families, and our staff in Manchester and will allow us to provide the best-possible specialist mental health care in a cutting-edge building that offers a pleasant and therapeutic environment for all

“Ensuring that everyone gets the mental health support they need is a priority for me and this funding will give us first-class mental health facilities that patients in our city deserve.”

And Neil Thwaite, trust chief executive, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have received government approval to go ahead with our ambitious and exciting plans to build a new mental health inpatient unit for Manchester.

“Every step of the Full Business Case and budget approval process has led us closer to achieving our vision, and we are thrilled to have now been given the final go-ahead.

“The new unit will transform the menta health inpatient experience for our service users, their families, and our staff in Manchester and will allow us to provide the best-possible specialist mental health care in a cutting-edge building that offers a pleasant and therapeutic environment for all.”

As the scheme moves into the next stage, the trust will be continuing conversations with stakeholders to hear feedback, test thinking and develop the design further.

The new unit will be built at the same hospital site, but in a different location, meaning current patient care and treatment will not be impacted during construction. /

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