New NHS Learning Disabilities Unit Opens

18 September 2020

On Friday 18 September, we officially opened a new low secure Learning Disability Residential Unit at Tatchbury Mount in Calmore.

Cutting of the ribbon 2.JPG

Called ‘Ashford’, it is a purpose-built 10-bedded ward specifically for adult men with a learning disability who have been detained under the Mental Health Act. 

The new unit represents an investment of around £10 million in learning disability services and has been welcomed by the 40+ strong multi-disciplinary team who will work there – comprising nurses, support workers, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists.

Southern Health’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Mayura Deshpande explained: “The new building is based on the site of the former Rufus Lodge - an unused building which was no longer appropriate for clinical use. By creating a new, safe and modern space in its place, we are now able to welcome our patients back to Calmore after they’d temporarily been cared for by our staff in Fareham, during construction.”

Originally, the ward had been located elsewhere on the Tatchbury Mount site in Woodhaven - which has since become Southern Health’s new low secure CAMHS unit called Austen House. As part of the relocation and investment process, Southern Health worked with construction contractor Kier to involve staff, patients and families in various elements of the unit’s design, with a number of site visits hosted during the building works.

Dr Deshpande continued: “Ashford will have 10 en-suite bedrooms as well as lots of clinic and office space; a de-escalation and seclusion area; a dining room; sensory, music and art rooms; a fitness suite and activity room; a family visiting room; a quiet room; plus a multi-faith room; and a sunny garden space. Feedback from our patients has already been really positive with one patient saying on a visit that there is more space for patients to get around and for activities such as music, art and games.”

Ashford’s Modern Matron, Rachel Makgatho added: “The environment is welcoming and safe for the patients, allowing for therapeutic interventions to take place which encourage them to take responsibility, stay healthy, get along with others and keep busy. This in turn supports the patients to develop the skills to live lives that are personally meaningful, enabling them to eventually move to independent living in the community and live offence free.

“The design of the ward has been carefully thought out, allowing patients to spend time socialising in communal areas whilst also providing quiet, calm spaces for spending time away from others.  This meets the needs of all our patients, including those with Autistic Spectrum Conditions for whom space to walk and quiet areas can be vital.”

Councillor Roger Huxstep from Hampshire’s Health and Adult Social Care Committee and The Rt Hon Dr Julian Lewis MP for New Forest East attended the opening.

Dr Julian Lewis MP commented: “Once again, we see the unveiling of a high-quality mental health facility on the Tatchbury Mount site. It is fast becoming a hub for state-of-the-art units to care for those cruelly challenged by mental illness. The dedication of the matron and staff were clear to see and I wish them, their patients and their families all the best for the future.”

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