Building works started on new child and adolescent mental health unit

Building has started today, Wednesday 2 May, on Cornwall’s very first child and adolescent mental health unit.

Building works started on new child and adolescent mental health unit

The new 14 bed Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) unit will accommodate boys and girls up to the age of 18.

Ahead of the NHS Five Year Forward View, today’s turf cutting ceremony means that soon children and adolescents will have access to specialist mental health beds in the county.  This initiative delivers on NHS England’s commitment to reduce out of area placements for children and young people by increasing bed numbers nationally by 10%.

To mark the start of building works, a turf cutting ceremony was attended by Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CFT) Chair, Dr. Barbara Vann, CFT Chief Executive, Phil Confue, a representative from the Invictus Trust and Paul Gale, Divisional Director for Interserve’s Southern Region.

Interserve has been appointed as the Principal Supply Chain Partner through the P22 Framework to design and build the unit.

Barbara Vann commented “I am delighted that CFT are able to make this step change in provision for the young people of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. We are planning that services delivered in this new facility will be focused upon their clinical, emotional and physical needs, including their education. This is a momentous development for us.”

Groups facilitated by Young People Cornwall have been actively involved in the project for a new CAMHS unit, even officially naming it ‘Sowenna’, Cornish for welfare and success. Many of the members of Young People Cornwall have had stays in inpatient units and are able to provide valuable insights.

It is reported that one in 10 children aged five to 16 have a diagnosable mental health condition.*  Most young people who are experiencing mental health difficulties are treated and supported within the community, however sometimes for those with severe mental health problems, often with accompanying high risk, require specialist inpatient care.  Historically, these have only been available in units which are a considerable distance from homes, visits and support from family and friends, which play a key element in people’s recovery, especially in the case of children.

Marking the start of construction on site, Trust Chief Executive, Phil Confue said, “Today is a significant milestone in the development of our adolescent inpatient unit. As of today, we are counting down to the opening in 12 months.

“For the first time in 2019, young people will be able to access to the full range of mental health services – from community to psychiatric hospital care – in Cornwall. Being able to treat young people closer to home, near family and friends where they can maintain their relationships and friendships will make a huge difference to their recovery.”

The unit will be divided into five elements; the entrance area, small living clusters with bedrooms, shared living areas, education block and offices.  Service users will benefit from a dedicated education, therapy and recreation space, sports facilities and a number of courtyards within the unit to allow for light access to outside space and fresh air.  In order to maintain vital community and familial links, the unit will include a public facing café and parental accommodation, and be built on land adjacent to Bodmin Hospital where it will benefit from close links to the Trust’s other specialist mental and physical health services.

The Principal Supply Chain Members appointed as part of the Interserve team to provide the design are Devereux Architecture as Architects, Capita as M+ E Engineers and Clarkbond as Structural and Civil Engineers. The whole design team have been involved from early stages of the design development process to ensure quality and integrity is achieved on the project.

Paul Gale, Divisional Director for Interserve’s Southern Region, commented “We are delighted to be involved in such an important project for 13 to 18 years olds in Cornwall.  Our expertise in the delivery of mental health facilities across the Country will provide us with lessons learnt to ensure that this project is delivered to the highest quality, is fit-for-purpose and provides an environment that staff can work effectively in and service users can benefit greatly from.  The turf cutting ceremony is an important and exciting milestone for us as we have reached the point where construction can begin.”