Published on: 22 March 2023

Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has commenced its first official day of construction for the pioneering new mental health hospital facilities in Derby and Chesterfield that will improve the safety, privacy and dignity of patients experiencing mental illness.

Two ground-breaking ceremonies took place take today (22 March) for the two new 54-bed mental health hospital units being built at the Kingsway Hospital in Derby and in the grounds of Chesterfield Royal Hospital.

The important milestone event was led by Trust Chair, Selina Ullah, and included a range of talks on project developments, insight from ex-patients on the importance of better patient experience and ‘listen and learn’ tours of the new site.

The new hospital units will each have 54 single, en-suite rooms, replacing the current facilities in Derby and Chesterfield which have dormitory accommodation, including green areas, therapy space and temperature-controlled rooms.

They are part of the Trust’s ambitious £150 million Making Room for Dignity programme – a government-funded programme to completely revamp the mental health inpatient (hospital) facilities in Derbyshire. Also being delivered as part of the programme are:

  • A new 14-bed psychiatric intensive care unit (PICU) at Kingsway Hospital in Derby – Derbyshire does not currently have a PICU and people who need this level of support currently need to travel outside of the county to access an appropriate bed
  • Refurbishment of the Radbourne Unit in Derby to create a dormitory-free acute 34-bed female unit
  • Relocation of the northern Derbyshire older adult’s mental health inpatient service from Hartington Unit to Walton Hospital (12-bed relocation)
  • Refurbishment of Audrey House at Kingsway Hospital – initially into a 10-bed decant ward, then into an eight-bed mental health 'Enhanced Care Unit' female unit.

A time capsule was also buried as part of the event, containing branded Trust items – a stress ball, pen and lanyard; photos of current staff in uniforms, a programme brochure; a map of the Kingsway site; and a poster summarising ‘the year 2023’ so far.

Arun Chidambaram, Medical Director at Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, explained what the new builds mean for patients. He said: “It has been a fantastic day celebrating the beginning of construction work for our new Making Room for Dignity projects.

“I am delighted we have reached the next stage of construction. A lot of hard work has gone into the behind the scenes of this event and project, so a big thank you to everyone who has been involved in getting us this far.

“Evidence suggests that single room accommodation can reduce the length of a patients stay at our services, so not only is this a positive step for patient care but this also promotes better infection control measures and reduces further incidents involving patients and staff. The Covid-19 pandemic did highlight gaps in the estate provision within mental health services and I am glad that we have been able to address that in Derbyshire with the new build.

“We are looking forward to seeing how these new developments unfold to achieve the best outcomes for our patients and clinical teams.”   

Derbyshire Healthcare has listened to patient and colleagues at the centre of the Making Room for Dignity programme.

Kate Smith, award winning children’s illustrator, designer and workshop leader at Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, has contributed to the development of the programmes logo design to represent service user and carers.

Kate said: “It has been an exciting day celebrating the construction work for the new hospital sites. As an ex-patient at the Radbourne Unit in Derby, I understand the importance of having a hospital room that feels like a home away from home.

“I found having a window in my dormitory extremely beneficial for my recovery, it allowed for natural light to come into my room, which is what inspired the logo I created for the Making Room for Dignity project.

“The new buildings will help to improve privacy and dignity for patients suffering with severe and complex mental health needs. This will allow patients to feel more at ease when staying in a hospital facility and become more receptive to available treatments to aid recovery.”

Chris Winspear, Integrated Health Projects (IHP) and VINCI Building’s regional director, said: “It’s been an honour to witness these ground-breaking ceremonies alongside the Trust, guests, and my IHP colleagues who’ll be working hard over the coming months to bring these important projects to fruition.

“It’s rewarding to see the Trust’s vision of modern facilities that provide comfortable, dignified and therapeutic environments for their users, taking shape.”

The hospital project is set to complete in 2024 for the acute facilities and 2025 for the Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit.

IHP is the joint venture between VINCI Building and Sir Robert McAlpine.

To learn more about the Making Room for Dignity Programme, please visit the projects webpage.