A new facility for people suffering from mental health problems will be a “home from home”.
Work is now underway on the £42million project to construct a new building at Kingsley Green in Radlett, which was formerly known as Harperbury Hospital.
Run by Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust, which provides support to people with mental health problems and learning disabilities, the site will have 86 beds.
Designed as a crisis centre, it will accommodate patients for up to 28 weeks, although the trust will do its best to ensure service users are recovered and ready to return home within 72 hours.
Trust chief executive Tom Cahill, said: “This is an excellent opportunity to bring together best practice and produce a cutting-edge facility that will deliver high quality care and set the benchmark for similar projects.
“We don’t want this to be called a hospital, we want to use this facility to dispel myths and put care for people with mental illness on the map in a positive way.”
Set in 11 acres of land, the two-acre building site consists of a north block, which is set to be open for admissions in May, and a south block which should be up and running by June.
It is divided into wards accommodating those with conditions such as depression or schizophrenia, those who have metal health problems and mobility issues and those with learning disabilities and mental illness.
Project manager Barry Trindall led a tour of the building site, showing wide corridors, large ensuite bedrooms full of light and with a garden view, spacious reception and social areas and an active and passive courtyard for exercise or quiet contemplation.
He said: “We’re making the project as environmentally friendly as possible; it is due to finish on time and under budget.”
Managing director of transformation Jess Lievesley was enthusiastic about the facility and its aim to be as light and welcoming and as possible.
He said: “We care passionately about investing in people, and this facility will offer them the environment, care and support they need to recover quickly.
“We are very proud to have this facility in Hertfordshire. This is as good as it gets and we hope it dirves up standards across the country.”
Finance director Keith Loveman said the trust’s foundation status meant it was able to pay for the facility despite the current difficult financial times.
He said: “We’re creating a home away from home that will allow the most vulnerable in our society to recover in a comfortable environment.”
The people who will themselves use the facility have been given an input from the beginning.
Rachel Hancock, is a patient of Hertfordshire Partnership and a membr of its transport and catering committees.
She said: “I would be very happy to stay here if I needed it, there is no way you can feel trapped here.
“I have been involved from the beginning and it is very exciting to have a tour of Kingsley Green and have some idea of what it will be like when it’s finished.”