STRUCTURE: Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has opened what it says is the most modern medium secure mental hospital in the country.

The £15m Hellingly Centre development in East Sussex is the biggest single investment ever made by Sussex Partnership.

It provides four 15-bedded wards and a range of therapy areas, and includes a complete refit of Ashen Hill, the trust’s previous medium secure hospital.

It features state-of-the-art entry and alarm systems, but is designed not to feel intimidating to visitors or patients. Although surrounded by a three-metre high perimeter fence, the trust said the hospital “blends sensitively into the landscape”.

Lisa Rodrigues, chief executive of Sussex Partnership, said, “A facility such as this enables our staff to provide world-class services.”

A feature of the new building is an arts project developed by occupational therapists at Sussex Partnership in collaboration with the Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne. 

The hospital will start taking patients later in February 2012.

The centre was built for Sussex Partnership by IHP (Integrated Health Projects), a joint venture between VINCI Construction Ltd and Sir Robert McAlpine. The architect partners were Building Ideas.

Building work started in summer 2010.