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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 November 2007, 20:53 GMT
Mental health plan gets go-ahead
Stressed woman
The SHA hopes the plans will improve mental health care
A 19m plan for six new hospital wards for people with mental health problems in Suffolk has been given the go-ahead.

The East of England Strategic Health Authority (SHA) board approved the plans at a meeting on Thursday.

The plan relocates four wards from St Clement's Hospital, Ipswich, to purpose-built and refurbished buildings on the Ipswich Hospital site.

There will also be a new low-secure ward on the St Clement's site and a refurbished ward in Bury St Edmunds.

This is one of the wards in the Suffolk Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust's (SMHP) Wedgwood House, on the West Suffolk Hospital site.

'Improved environment'

Mark Halladay, chief executive of SMHP, said: "The existing wards at St Clement's, Ipswich and one of our wards at Bury St Edmunds are outdated and in poor condition and although our staff do an excellent job in those surroundings, we need modern, high-quality wards for the future.

"By refurbishing and building new accommodation, we will dramatically improve the environment for service users and staff.

Neil McKay, chief executive of the NHS East of England, said: "We are delighted that the plan has been signed off, and that the Mental Health Trust can take it forward to provide modern, high-quality wards for service users and staff in Suffolk."

The plan was developed as a partnership between the trust, its clinicians, patients, Ipswich Hospital and partner agencies.

The full business case will be submitted in Autumn 2008, with the wards expected to be opened by December 2010.

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