Work starts on new mh facility in east Kent
Work starts on new mental health facility
22 July 2011

Work has now begun on the building of a brand new £10m mental health in-patient facility at St Martin’s Hospital in Canterbury.

A ceremony held at the hospital today marked the start of the building work which will take 14 months to complete.

The turf turning ceremony was led by the Lord Mayor of Canterbury, Cllr Ian Thomas and Canterbury MP Julian Brazier.  It also included a local mental health service user Lorna Bailey and artist and carer Cheryl Ives.

The new in-patient accommodation, which has been designed in conjunction with service users and carers, will include en-suite rooms and will improve the quality of care, patient access and experience, as well as service efficiency and staff interactions.

This building is the final piece in the jigsaw for the long held plan to centralise all adult mental health in-patient care for those in East Kent in Canterbury.  Once the unit is complete, two wards based in the Arundel Unit in Ashford will transfer to the new facility.

The Trust has worked with its project partners Kier Health to ensure the building is in line with the local environment. To that end it will:

  • complement and blend in with the existing ecology of the hospital site.
  • be a single story unit, with the external walls being a mixture of brickwork, render, glass and timber.
  • deliver a BREEAM excellent rating which will show long term savings in energy use and maintenance costs for the Trust in years to come.
  • be flexible with the two 18 bed wards having eight swing bedrooms that allow operational flexibility in service delivery.

Speaking at the ceremony the Trust’s Deputy Chairman Paul Godwin said, ”Today sees the start of the work to build these new wards, but it is far from the start of the programme to modernise local mental health services.  Since 2004 both local commissioners of services and the Trust has been working to deliver the overall strategy of having greater community based care as well as having in-patient beds based here in Canterbury for all of east Kent.  Services are unrecognisable from where they were back in 2004.  We have seen a considerable expansion in the range of services available to support people in a crisis.  Today we start the next phase, which is to deliver a modern, purpose built facility that is fit for purpose. I must pay tribute to all the Trust staff who have been working towards this project, whether in front line care or support services.”

Julian Brazier MP said, ”I am delighted that Canterbury will be host to adult in-patient services going forward.  Indeed, I hope that it will become a centre of excellence for the people of east Kent.  Having seen the plans for the building, it promises to be a great facility and I am sure those who are unfortunate enough to need an in-patient stay will, in the future, find it to be a positive experience in a first class environment.”

Lord Mayor of Canterbury, Cllr Ian Thomas, said, “I am delighted to be here to show my support for the work of the Trust and the staff who deliver these services.  It is great that in these challenging times the Trust is able to push ahead with its programme of service improvement and to commit to this new facility."

Peter Searle, Kier Director, said, “This project has been developed taking onboard the latest best practice within mental health delivery and looks to set new high standards for the excellent service delivery that is already currently being provided by the Trust.”

Related information

The Trust’s project partners are Kier.

Visit the East Kent Redesign page for further details about the project.