New Acute Mental Health Inpatient Centre at Belfast City Hospital opens

21/06/2019

Belfast Trust announced today that the new Acute Mental Health Inpatient Centre at Belfast City Hospital has been formally handed over and is scheduled to open to patients on Monday 24th June. 

This major investment in mental health care and purpose-built modern facility will support the development of the Belfast Trust’s acute mental health service in one location, having previously been provided at the Mater and Knockbracken sites. The decision to base the centre at Belfast City Hospital is intended to reduce the stigma of mental health and ensuring patients are close to clinical services they may require. 

The new centre will provide 80 acute mental health en-suite bedrooms including six psychiatric intensive care beds. The centre consists of five separate interconnecting buildings arranged around a cloistered central courtyard and communal and administration areas.

All aspects of the design have been carefully considered - including; colours, lighting, materials, furniture, fixtures and fittings - to ensure that the surrounding environment enhances the overall inpatient experience.

The service will continue to offer the highest standards of treatment and evidence-based interventions for patients experiencing an acute phase of mental illness previously provided at other sites.

Mel Carney, Interim Co-Director, Mental Health Services at Belfast Trust said “We have had mental health provided across three sites in Belfast and we are now re-providing all of our acute mental health beds in one site. This modern facility has wards designed around gardens and bright spaces. The building has been developed through learning from best practice across the UK and consulting service users.”

“We believe this will make a significant contribution to the mental health of the population of Belfast and we believe the environment we are providing here will support the program of care we deliver. Our service users and their families can be proud of this building, and that is something they deserve.”

Peter Sloan, Consultant in Mental Health, Belfast Trust said “The treatment of mental illness has changed significantly in the past 20 years. We now pride ourselves on being recovery focused and being able to deliver the majority of our treatments in a community setting. There is, however, a group of patients who will require treatment in an inpatient setting and we believe this new state of the art unit will provide the setting for their recovery.”

“Mental Health services are unfortunately associated with stigma and we are hopeful this new centre will move towards destigmatising mental health problems. Situating the centre on a general hospital site in the heart of the community and calling it the Acute Mental Health Inpatient Centre is a step towards removing that sigma from society.”