Work completed on Blackpool mental health facility

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Work to create a new Mental Health Urgent Assessment Centre at Blackpool Victoria Hospital has been completed.

It has been developed to support people attending the hospital’s accident and emergency department in a mental health crisis.

The £600,000 Fylde Coast Mental Health Urgent Assessment Centre (MHUAC) is the latest health development spearheaded by Preston-based architect, design and masterplanning practice Frank Whittle Partnership (FWP).

“Both elements will stimulate economic activity in the area which, in turn, will help to support recovery following the financial impact of COVID.”

The centre has been created to meet the needs of the new service and FWP’s specialist design work includes creating a feature entrance to the building.

The unit has three assessment rooms, a reception area, medical office, consultant offices, meeting room, nurse’s office, staff room, toilets, and staff showers.

It will be staffed round-the-clock by a team of medics tasked with rapidly assessing over-16s who arrive at A&E experiencing urgent mental health needs, so they access the right care and treatment.

FWP and main contractor, Chorley-based D&G Builders and Joiners, have worked closely to deliver structural changes to the internal layout of the unit, in an area that was previously used by the hospital’s anti-coagulation dosing advisory service.

It is the latest in several important mental health projects delivered by FWP for Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust, which provides a range of services, including secondary mental health care across the area.

Earlier this year the trust appointed FWP to deliver a new NHS rehabilitation centre at Wesham, which will focus on helping people’s recovery from complex mental health problems.

At the beginning of the year FWP’s specialist mental health team also completed the redesign of the trust’s Skylark Centre in Preston. That rehabilitation unit, at Royal Preston Hospital, is now helping patients recovering from mental health conditions regain the skills associated with day-to-day living.

David Simmons, associate partner and interior designer at FWP, said: “Once again we have worked closely with the trust to create a modern facility that will provide a calm and safe environment for the unit’s team and those that they are looking to help and support.

“Purpose-built, it has been designed to meet the needs of the vital service it will provide. It has a distinct non-clinical feel to it. It is situated near to the hospital’s emergency department and will be a place where people will receive holistic assessments and be encouraged to bring carers, family or friends to aid with the assessment process, should they choose to do so.”

Work on the unit continued throughout the COVID-19 lockdown period, making use of online meetings with the project and clinical teams to ensure the programme continued to move forward.

FWP, which has offices in Preston, Manchester and London, has a wealth of experience in the healthcare sector. It has a successful track record of delivering NHS projects in the North West over the past 25 years, including, more recently, the Life and Urgent Care centres at Chorley and South Ribble Hospital, The Minerva Centre in Preston North End’s Deepdale ground, and the Oaklands Mental Health Facility in Lancaster.

FWP has also designed a new specialist family support centre which will be built at St John’s Hospice in Lancaster.

The £750,000 project in the grounds of the hospice has been given the go-ahead by city council planners. The two-storey building could be completed by the end of the year to coincide with the hospice’s 35th anniversary.