In November 2020 Sefton Council gave full planning permission for a new 40 bed specialist learning disability hospital, a state of the art facility offering short to medium term care for service users. The Trust's Board of Directors approved the Full Business Case in January 2021.
This follows NHS England's intention not to commission learning disability services from our Whalley site and the recent transfer of medium secure to Rowan View.
The new low secure site will offer world class care in a new therapeutic environment delivering an entirely new model of secure learning disability care.
Mersey Care is planning to build a new 40 bed specialist hospital for people with learning disabilities at Maghull Health Park. Outline planning permission was approved by Sefton Council in July 2020 and full permission was granted in November that year prior to the Trust's Board of Directors considering all the options in the Full Business Case in January 2021.
This leads the way for a state of the art hospital building that will provide short to medium term care for patients across the region. The decision follows a series of public sessions held in September 2019 by Mersey Care and Turley national planning and development consultancy over proposals to co-locate it with a range of secure mental health services already on the site. It will form our new centre of excellence - Maghull Health Park. Further engagement took place online ahead of the Full Business Case decision.
Executive Director of Estates Elaine Darbyshire said: “Maghull has a long and living history of hospitals providing mental healthcare dating back more than a century, so we’re delighted to be building on that tradition.
"This new hospital represents significant investment of £33 million that will offer world class care in a therapeutic environment. It will also enable us to work with sector partners to provide a new model of care for complex patients across the North West.
“We’re grateful to Sefton Council, other local representatives and health partners for enabling us to proceed to the next phase in this exciting new-build programme. Ultimately it will also cement the future of Maghull Health Park as a centre of excellence, as well as help boost the local economy and jobs.”
Planning consent was granted to build a low secure unit on land off Villas Road, which is on the community facing edge of Maghull Health Park, owned by Mersey Care. The site has good transport links across the region, situated off School Lane and close to the M58 junction and Maghull North Station. The new hospital will be nearby Mersey Care centralised support services, conference and training centre, as well as longstanding facilities and newer developments including our Rowan View medium secure hospital, making the site Maghull’s biggest employer.
Mersey Care will also go through a lengthy process to assure NHS England and Improvement that it has a sound business case for the new hospital however the Government has already committed £33 million to the project, subject to necessary approvals.
A construction contract could be signed by late summer 2021, building work started in autumn 2021 and the hospital completed by spring 2023. A period of testing will then take place before the service comes on stream in the summer of 2023.
The new hospital will cater for up to 40 men and women with a diagnosis of learning disability, autism and comorbid conditions, needing care and treatment in conditions of a low secure setting. Each patient will have their own bedroom with en-suite bathroom, plus a range of activity areas and therapeutic spaces.
Medical Director for Commissioning in NHS England and NHS Improvement North West, Dr Michael Gregory, said: “We have asked Mersey Care to provide a new low secure unit for patients with complex care needs that gives the best modern day standards of accommodation within a new model of care.
“Gaining planning consent is a significant step forward and once the project has met all of its statutory and regulatory objectives we believe this new facility will promote the delivery of high quality care across a range of secure services we commission that reduces the length of stay for patients.”
Latest CG models from the designer
We will use the learning from the development of the Medium Secure site and other Trust builds as we progress this latest hospital. We're using our learning as we plan the new art strategy for the LSU to ensure it is part of the infrastructure of the building and clearly linked to recovery and a life beyond care. The team are meeting in first few weeks of this year to create the artist's brief.
Maghull Health Park is becoming a major centre of attention for the highest standards of care, and it is our intention for it to be the centre of excellence for learning disability and mental health care. This, in turn, allows for quality, long term jobs and careers for staff with specialism in those disciplines, as well as support from wider services.
Our attention and aspirations are always focussed on the people who use our services, but there is also a wider focus. We are saying that here, in Sefton, Mersey Care can and will provide accessible, secure and sustainable employment opportunities for the people of the area.
When we were building Rowan View, we held a number of community events and we displayed prominent signs about local recruitment. We welcome applications from all and are always pleased to continue our local links in Sefton.
It is inevitable the job market will change significantly because of the economic consequences of the pandemic. Young people in particular will be vulnerable to this contraction with fewer employment opportunities available to them at a critical point in their life. Yet, here in Sefton, Maghull Health Park will give school leavers the chance to come into sustainable, secure employment with good jobs and salaries, giving them opportunities to develop as a professional in whatever role interests them.
This is our investment in the community. As a major healthcare provider we can offer a wide range of career opportunities. This is not only about being a nurse, a doctor or a therapist. We employ people in many different roles, from business administration to catering to building management and security.
You could be in on this at the start. If you want to come and work in this new environment, the opportunities are many. It's a chance to develop a career in an organisation and be supported in that development by people with great knowledge and experience.
One of the "selling points" of Maghull Health Park is we're able to create a real centre of excellence wth the best staff, especially with skills in learning disability care, on one prestigious site. This also gives opportunity for career advancement of our existing and experienced workforce and gives staff the chance to work across a major new site offering the full care pathway.
We anticipate more than 150 people working in the LSU across a range of disciplines and professions (including those also working in our other Health Park buildings). Our workforce plan is being developed and is closely focussed on learning from our previous builds by ensuring all service leads are engaged.
Maghull Health Park will be the foundation to realise our clinical vision. We want Mersey Care, in partnershhip with the borough of Sefton, to be seen as a renowned seat of excellence in clinical care and ground breaking research in the field of mental health and risk reduction. We are looking at the whole infrastructure of the park and the building use across all our existing estate in planning for the LSU and the capacity of the site.
This configuration of clinical services, the only one of its kind in the United Kingdom, will generate International interest, recognition and investment. Our innovative clinical model combined with the investment in state of the art therapeutic environments will embody the gold standard in secure care for people with mental illness, learning disability and autism.
We will continue to deliver on our three major service priorities:
- Risk reduction and public protection: Providing safe and effective intervention from admission to discharge has, and always will be, our primary objective. We never lose sight of our most fundamental task, to reduce the risk our service users pose and facilitate their safe return to community.
- Recovery, integration and aspiration: The lives of people in secure care have often been troubled and certainly disrupted due to their illness. Clinical intervention must be delivered in a timely and proactive way to avoid unnecessarily extended stays in hospitals. Our clinicians work collaboratively with service users and their families to support their recovery, help them achieve their goals and ultimately, build a life beyond care.
- Capacity and demand: Ensuring timely access to appropriate care in secure hospitals is a challenging task. Often beds are unavailable for people who are very ill and they are placed in environments ill equipped to meet their needs. The close configuration of services on Maghull Health Park will allow us to manage patient flow much more efficiently ensuring the best care and treatment is available when needed most.