Chloe Smith visits NSFT after £38m cash boost for new mental health unit
PUBLISHED: 17:25 10 January 2020 | UPDATED: 17:25 10 January 2020
A Norfolk MP has vowed to fight for NHS services as she visited the proposed site of a multimillion pound mental health unit.
Chloe Smith, MP for Norwich North, met Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT) chief executive Jonathan Warren on Friday to find out about the early stages for the development at Hellesdon Hospital.
In August the government announced it would give the trust £38m towards building a modern unit to relocate four of its current wards.
In addition, a fifth 16-bed ward would be built, increasing capacity to 80 beds. The trust said the additional space will reduce the number of patients sent outside of the area for treatment.
Ms Smith said: "I'm delighted to see the real commitment to mental health that the Government is making and that, locally, we will benefit from the Conservative Government's NHS long-term plan.
"Ensuring local NHS services have the resources they need is one of my key priorities and I will continue to fight for this."
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The current budget for the project is £40m, with £2m to be secured through the sale of a disused football field at the hospital.
An outline business case for the first stage of the project is expected to be published this summer.
A full business case will be developed during 2021 and if agreed, construction work would be estimated to commence in 2022, with an opening date in late 2023.
Mr Warren said the plans were at an early stage but said the development would significantly improve the environment for users and carers.
The chief executive said: "We are really excited about this fantastic project and were pleased to welcome Ms Smith to Hellesdon so that we could explain more about the improvements it will bring.
"We are committed to fully involving local people as we develop these proposals further so that we can make the very best use of this opportunity and ensure it brings the greatest benefits to local people.
"We are keen to hear from service users or carers who would like to get involved with this work so that we can ensure the voices of the people who use our services are heard throughout this major project."
The new building could include a gym, outside spaces, therapy areas and a multi-use games area.