Some £12,000 is to be spent on upgrading a suite at the Fermoy unit in Lynn for those suffering from a mental health crisis.
The ‘section 136’ suite is one of three in the county to be upgraded in £394,700 of expenditure announced this week by the NHS.
The money will pay for renovating and expanding ‘places of safety’ in Norwich, Lynn and Yarmouth.
These are suites on NHS premises where people can betaken by police officers and looked after by mental health professionals.
It means people in crisis can be cared for and their needs assessed in a much more appropriate setting and given the emergency support and care they need. It also frees police officers who can return to their duties in the community.
The money is one-off “capital” funding and was granted by a panel from the Department of Health, Home Office and NHS England. The money was awarded following a joint bid made by partners in the NHS, charitable and social housing in Norfolk.
Three ‘section 136’ suites run by Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT)will be upgraded.
One at Hellesdon in Norwich will be rebuilt and extended at a cost of about £220,000.
The suites at the Fermoy Unit and Northgate Hospital in Yarmouth will be refurbished with a new look and updated furniture at a cost of about £12,000 each.
Clive Rennie, from the Norfolk integrated mental health commissioning team, said:“Modernising section 136 suites will provide improved facilities for both patients andstaff, this will assist greatly in patient care in crisis situations. ”
Debbie White, Director of Operations in Norfolk for NSFT said: “This funding will allow us to improve our existing crisis care facilities at Northgate and the Fermoy Unit and create safe, calming and engaging environments for people when they are their most vulnerable. “The project will see the suite at Hellesdon expanded to cater for more patients, in turn reducing the need for them to be transferred elsewhere.
“A ‘place of calm’ will also be created, where people can receive practical and emotional support in comfortable surroundings.
“This project will play a major role in helping to improve the experience which patients have when using these suites while also providing greater privacy and dignity and reducing the stigma associated with a detention under the Mental Health Act.
“Improved facilities will also make it easier for our staff to monitor this vulnerable group and take appropriate action to de-escalate often damaging episodes of crisis before they require detention, hospitalisation or specialist referral.”