STRUCTURE: Devon Partnership NHS Trust has announced the opening of the Beech Unit in Torbay following a £1.5m refurbishment. 

Formerly known as the Fernworthy Unit, Beech Unit is located on the Torbay Hospital site and has 14 beds.  It will provide assessment, care and treatment for older people with severe mental health needs.

While the refurbishment of Beech Unit has been taking place, the trust has been continuing to use Brunel Lodge in Newton Abbot to provide assessment and treatment for older people from south Devon with mental health needs. 

This service and the staff team will now transfer to the new unit in Torbay. The Brunel Lodge was one of only two hospitals rated as “poor” in this year’s patient environment action team (PEAT) scores. It was rated as poor for patient environment.

Commenting on the opening, trust co-medical director and consultant psychiatrist, Dr David Somerfield said:  “Our staff have always done a sterling job but their dedication and commitment has, until now, not been matched by the quality of the physical environment in which they have had to work.

“The Beech Unit will enable us to provide high quality care in a modern, purpose-built environment.   In addition, the unit’s proximity to our two other mental health wards on the site provides additional safety, as specialist staff are on-hand to provide support very quickly if and when needed.”

He added: “The team at Brunel Lodge has been doing a wonderful job but they have been working in an outdated building which is no longer fit for its purpose.  It is also very isolated. In these respects it has none of the advantages of the new Beech Unit.” 

The opening of the unit in Torbay is part of the trust’s ongoing plans to improve older people’s mental health services supported by NHS Devon and the Strategic Health Authority. 

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