£4.5m mental health wards open in east Cheshire

Two new wards have opened in Macclesfield, after campaigners fought to keep mental health beds in east Cheshire.

Proposals had been made to move all beds to Chester, following the closure of the Millbrook Unit.

But they were changed following a public consultation where service users, carers and the wider public were asked about their views on how to improve the care for the 7000 local people severely affected by mental health problems.

Plans for the new £4.5m units were approved last year, and Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CWP) say they now they have opened to patients.

26-bed Mulberry Ward, based on the Lime Walk House site on Victoria Road, will provide specialist inpatient care for adults and older people severely affected by mental health problems including schizophrenia, psychosis and depression. 

It features an open garden, courtyard, gym facilities, and all en-suite bedrooms.

Meanwhile Silk Ward, on the Macclesfield District General Hospital site in the unit formally known as CARS Ward, will provide specialist inpatient treatment and assessment for people with dementia.

The 15-bed unit takes into account the needs of people living with dementia and their families, and also has an End of Life Room for families to be near their loved ones.

The names were selected by service users, carers and staff, aiming to honour the local silk-making heritage of the area.

Sheena Cumiskey, CWP chief executive, explains: “The opening of the two units forms part of wider local improvements, which means local people can now access enhanced community mental health services and 24/7 mental health crisis care.

"These new services will support more people to continue their lives, with support, in the community whilst providing high quality hospital care when needed.

“I would like to thank everyone who has worked so hard to make these new services a reality, including our partners, and I would particularly like to thank our staff for all of their hard work and dedication during the transition period.

"We look forward to welcoming patients and their families in the coming weeks.”

Mike Heale, chair of the Macclesfield Mental Health Forum, says: “The Forum has been campaigning for improved facilities for the last three years in East Cheshire and is delighted to see the opening of Silk and Mulberry Wards.

"The new wards offer improved amenities including en-suite bathrooms alongside an excellent environment for care and rehabilitation.

"I congratulate CWP for this investment and hope it will launch a new era for people experiencing mental health problems in the local area.”

John Colclough, Chair of the Crewe and Nantwich Open Minds Forum, says: “Crewe and Nantwich Open Minds is the independent watchdog/ pressure group for mental health in south Cheshire.

"We have been fully involved in discussions/ planning for the two new wards and five of our members visited just before they were due to open. The facilities are excellent - a huge improvement on what was available before.

"We now have in-patient services fit for the modern age."

“Wherever possible, people prefer to receive timely support at home, to prevent a hospital admission in the first place.

"Welcome developments in community services are already taking place, and we will continue to scrutinise the whole process to ensure that the plans come to fruition.”

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