Work begins on Plymouth teen mental health unit

CONSTRUCTION work has begun on a mental health unit for teenagers in Plymouth. Developers say the NHS unit, at the Plymouth International Medical and Technology Park in Derriford, is on track to open in January 2011.

The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) scheme attracted opposition from local residents when the plans were put forward in 2008.

The £4.1million facility will provide in-patient treatment for youngsters aged 12 to 18 with conditions including depression, eating disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Adrian Griffin, general manager of ReSound Health, which is developing the unit, said: “We signed everything up with the primary care trust just before Christmas, so we’ve bought the site, signed all the construction and design contracts and taken out funding for the scheme.

“Construction has started and we’re in the ground digging foundations,” he said. “I would expect to see, in a month’s time, walls starting to come out of the ground and the whole development taking shape.”

He added that the completion date for the 12-bed unit was January 2011, when the unit would be ready to be handed over to NHS Plymouth.

ReSound Health is a public- private partnership established by NHS Plymouth to deliver new purpose-built health facilities.

The partnership was established under the Local Improvement Finance Trust (Lift) initiative.

ReSound has secured a bank loan from RBS for the £4.1million mental health unit.

Mr Griffin said: “We’re delighted that we can start construction on this project, which will be of great benefit to the whole of the South West.

“There has been a huge team effort behind the scenes to deliver this project and we look forward to the new facility being open,” he said.

Despite receiving 81 letters of objection to the scheme, Plymouth City Council granted outline planning permission in May last year.

NHS Plymouth has sought to reassure residents and parents whose children attend a nearby nursery that the unit will not be treating criminals, drug addicts, hyperactive children or those with conduct disorders.

There will be ‘four levels’ of observation in force depending on the mental state of the patient, it says.

ReSound has so far opened three new buildings in Plymouth: Ernesettle GP Surgery, the Local Care Centre at Mount Gould and Cattedown Primary Care Centre.

It is also working towards building a £5million library and health centre in Plympton.