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News archive - September 2013

A new era for mental health

A new era for mental health

In the first of two articles, we look at plans for the redevelopment of Broadmoor Hospital, the largest and most high-profile high-secure mental health project carried out for over a century.

Broadmoor Hospital is one of three high-security psychiatric hospitals in England and is internationally recognised, both for its work with patients and its research activities.

The facility opened its doors for the first time in 1863, providing care for mentally-ill men and women who had committed acts of violence or were deemed a threat to society.

The hospital was purposefully set outside of London on a hill in Crowthorne with views over the Berkshire countryside. Even then it was widely recognised that patients benefitted from the idyllic calm of the surrounding landscape and they were able to work in the kitchen gardens and on the hospital farm as part of their therapy.

Fast forward 150 years and, while the clinical care is still deemed to be the best in the world, the buildings are no longer suitable for the delivery of 21st-century healthcare.

So work is expected to start later this year on a replacement facility, which will embody the principles of the original hospital, providing patients with gardens and long open views over the countryside, but is more fitting with modern design principles.

21st-century care

The £285m scheme will involve the construction of a brand new hospital providing 234 mental health beds accommodating 210 patients, together with space for 24 flexible beds.

A spokesman at West London Mental Health NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, said: “The hospital will be used to house patients with mental illness, and or personality disorders. These patients have long-term complex needs, requiring specific levels of care. But since its design and construction in 1863, many of the hospital buildings have not changed and it is this outdated Victorian layout which is making it increasingly difficult for staff to provide the modern services and treatments our patients need. So improvements are necessary if staff are to continue the crucial work of treating and rehabilitating patients with these conditions.”

The scheme has been designed by Oxford Architects and in the last few weeks the trust has named Kier as its preferred bidder for the £115m construction project.

Programme director, Vickie Holcroft, said: “Over the years it has become increasingly evident just how important and necessary this redevelopment is. Broadmoor Hospital staff do an amazing job, despite the limitations of working in some very old buildings, which were not designed for the delivery of the type of care our patients need today. This project will make a major difference.

“By modernising the site, we can significantly enhance the quality of treatment the trust is able to offer, increase the safety and security of our patients and staff, whilst improving the working lives of Trust employees.”

The redevelopment is being funded partly by the trust, with some money from the Department of Health and from the sale of surplus land.

New models of care

The plan includes an on-site energy centre, admin building, kitchen gardens, a sports and music facility and ward spaces. There will also be a central space on the first floor of the hospital housing medical records, neuropsychology research, education rooms, an occupational therapy kitchen, and spiritual care services.

Each of the 16 wards has been designed with en-suite facilities available, exercise spaces, treatment and clinical rooms, de-escalation spaces and interview areas. There will also be time out spaces, air lock entry points and seclusion rooms, as well as staff spaces and essential services including laundry, refuse and kitchens.

The spokesman said: “The new layout will help us further implement our new model of care, which motivates and engages patients through intensive treatment and care pathways, all centred round therapeutic activities. Working in this way will help us provide more efficient services and effective treatment programmes.”

Preparatory work has been underway since 2012, with building work expected to start later this year and phase one ready to accept patients by January 2017.

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