New mental health unit for youngsters gets Assembly Government’s green light

The Welsh Assembly Government has given its approval to plans for the development of a new £22m unit for children and young people with a range of mental health conditions in South, Mid and West Wales.

Key features of the state-of-the-art-facility at the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend will include:

• A 24-hour service, seven days a week.
• A 14-bed planned treatment ward.
• A five-bed emergency and high-dependency ward.
• 19 en suite bedrooms with overnight facilities for relatives and visitors.
• A general adolescent unit for acute and emergency admissions.
• Facilities for family therapy and a range of other therapies.
• A number of games rooms, common rooms, television rooms
and quiet rooms.
• A gym and sports hall.

Health Minister Edwina Hart said: “This new unit will enable more young people to receive care closer to their home, family and friends, reducing the need to travel for treatment.

“It will provide a more integrated service with effective and seamless follow-up treatment and support after patients have moved on from the inpatient phase of their care.

“It will also reduce existing reliance on the use of specialist non-NHS mental health services outside Wales.

Dr Merj Hassan, Clinical Director for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services for Cwm Taf and Abertawe Bro Morgannwg NHS Trusts, said: “I’m delighted this much-needed scheme is moving forward. This unit will be a big step in helping to improve the services we can offer and in an environment designed for young people

“Over the past few years considerable emphasis has been placed on the need to improve mental health services for young people. Family interventions are an important element in the treatment of adolescents and young people suffering from mental health problems.

“Best practice is to involve the family in therapy sessions and in other work with the young person. The new unit will enable such work to develop.”

The new unit will help children and young people who are experiencing complex mental health conditions, including eating disorders and mood disorders, and is expected to open in late 2009.