IT was celebrations all round at Rampton Hospital when work officially started on a new high security national learning disability unit.
The event was marked by an on-site foundation stone-laying ceremony which was attended by Dr Susan Johnston, Dr David Brabiner, Dr Elisabeth Milne and Dr Panchajanya Ghatak, all consultant psychiatrists for the Learning Disability Directorate at the Hospital.
The formalities took place at the proposed Therapeutic Care Building, which will be the hub of the new service.
Once it is up and running, the new building will be used by patients who will be taking advantage of a range of daytime activities.
These will include exercises in the multi-gym and music therapy in the dedicated music room.
Once completed, the new unit will include 54 beds split into four discrete house units.
A hospital spokesman said the 35 million building programme is scheduled to take around two years to complete.
“It will then provide a modern, energy efficient, flexible and high quality environment for patients,” added Julie Grant, head of communications.
The scheme is being led and managed by the hospital’s in-house Capital Planning Unit in partnership with Laing O’Rourke.
It is being seen as a nationally important strategic contribution to the care and well being of patients with a learning disability, or who require psychiatric care in a high security setting.
It is anticipated that the construction of the unit will be completed by early 2010, which means it should be ready for commissioning by March in the same year.
The proposed site was chosen last year and is seen as being ideally situated to allow the access road built during the construction of the women’s unit to be re-used.
“This will minimse the disruption to the main hospital and its neighbours,” said the spokesman.