Work “progressing well” on new £20m mental health centre at Stracathro

STRACATHRO Hospital’s new mental health centre is still on course to be handed over to NHS Tayside later this year, a health authority spokeswoman has said.

Patients and staff from Sunnyside Royal Hospital are due to move from the Hillside unit to Stracathro in November.

The health authority is building the new £20 million mental health centre to house the existing services at Sunnyside, although the hospital is continuing to deliver those services to local communities and no decision on the site’s future has yet been taken.

The new centre will provide in-patient and out-patient services as part of a £95 million scheme to provide state-of-the-art mental health facilities for adults and older patients across Tayside.

The project also includes a new medium-secure care clinic at Murray Royal Hospital in Perth, a venture being funded jointly with Grampian, Highland, Orkney and Shetland NHS boards.

A topping out ceremony marking the end of structural work at the new Murray Royal site was held last Wednesday.

The Stracathro centre’s design has been developed through consultation with service users, carers and multi-disciplinary clinical and non-clinical staff, as well as a range of technical experts, and is due to be handed over to NHS Tayside in October.

Health authority chairman Sandy Watson said: “It is wonderful to see these fantastic new facilities taking shape.

“This project, which has had so much input from so many people with a real involvement in the two hospitals, underlines NHS Tayside’s commitment to the care of patients with mental health problems.

“I am also delighted that, in partnership with Grampian, Highland, Orkney and Shetland NHS boards, we will be, for the first time, providing beds for patients from the north of Scotland region who require care in a medium secure setting.”

An NHS Tayside spokeswoman said that work is progressing well at both sites with the whole of the Stracathro unit now wind and watertight.

She said: “Stracathro is expected to be handed over to NHS Tayside in late October this year, with patients and staff transferring from Sunnyside a month later, following a comprehensive cleaning, equipping and inspection programme.

“Plans for enhancing the main entrances at both hospitals and at the Secure Care Clinic, as part of the art strategy, are well developed.

“Following the transfer of patients and staff at Murray Royal, most of the old wards will be demolished and the extensive grounds landscaped, with final completion scheduled for April 2013. At Stracathro, the landscaping will be completed at the same time as the new buildings. In addition, at both sites every ward will have its own courtyard and these will all be landscaped before patients move in.”

The new build will cater for 52 in-patients as well as provide day services and it will house medical staff, occupational therapy, social therapy, older people’s psychology and a dementia liaison team.

No proposals or planning applications relating to the re-use or redevelopment of the Sunnyside estate or hospital buildings have so far been lodged with Angus Council although the 52-acre site is expected to be sold off, presenting a significant development opportunity.

The authority has said that a masterplan would be required to ensure that any development is of a quality that respects the character of the site and integrates with the wider community.

It would provide guidance of council requirements and aim to secure the future of important buildings and safeguard their landscape setting.