Designing better mental healthcare facilities

Work to start in October on West Midlands older adult unit

Construction work will commence in October for a new-build inpatient unit at Dorothy Pattison Hospital, part of Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, following NHS England/Improvement (NHSE/I) approval of the Full Business Case.

The unit, with a gross construction cost of £25 m, will offer single bedroom accommodation for older adults with mental health conditions, including dementia, will replacing existing facilities at Bloxwich Hospital. The modern, purpose-built facility will bring a number of benefits for patients and staff, including more flexible space for therapeutic care. 

Specialist healthcare infrastructure consultancy, Archus, has been appointed to undertake the role of P22 project manager of the construction and handover phases. Archus has supported the scheme since 2019, providing P22 pre-construction project management and business case authoring services.  Kier has been appointed as the Trust’s construction partner through the P22 framework, alongside WT Partnership as Trust cost advisor.

Archus executive director and Midlands lead, Chris Turner, said: “We are absolutely delighted that the scheme has received funding approval to proceed. This is a great result, not just for the team involved with the project over the last few years, supporting the formulation of the business cases and associated pre-construction activities, but more importantly for the local community in Walsall. This facility will offer much improved care for older mental health inpatients, including single bedrooms, more dedicated space for therapeutic activities, and better lines of sight for patient supervision, enhancing their recovery and reducing the average length of stay.”

Divisional director of Older adult and Adult Mental Health, Debbie Cooper commented: ”With this new development, older adult mental health services in Walsall will have a modern environment that enables recovery in a setting that is appropriate and responsive for all. We are continuing to work with our partners to help make this vision a reality for the Walsall community we support.”

The project is aligned with numerous aspects of national policy including the NHS Long Term Plan, and the Five Year Forward View. Funding has been granted through the Government Dormitory Eradication Fund, which supports the eradication of shared sleeping arrangements in NHS mental health accommodation.

Enabling work has already commenced on site, with the main construction works due to start in October. The service is expected to open in Spring 2024.

Archus is ‘a team of experts’ that provides strategic and infrastructure advice to health and social care clients. Its team of over 90 health planners, clinicians, project managers, strategic advisors, and technical specialists come together to work on major projects across the UK and internationally.

Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust provides specialist mental health, learning disability, and community healthcare services for the population of the Black Country.


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