Following a 12 week public consultation, the local NHS has confirmed plans for a new 54-bed hospital for inpatient mental health services in East Sussex to be built on a site in North East Bexhill by March 2024, at cost of around £46 million.
Members of the East Sussex Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) endorsed the plans at a meeting held today (Thursday), following approval by NHS governing bodies.
In June, the NHS East Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (SPFT) put forward a proposal to move mental health inpatient services at the Department of Psychiatry in Eastbourne District General Hospital to new facilities to be built on a different site, either in Bexhill or near Hailsham.
This proposal enables the local NHS to benefit from national funding being made available to eradicate dormitory accommodation in all inpatient services.
The public consultation into the proposals was held between June and September and hundreds of people made their views known, including service users, carers, families, representative groups, charities, politicians and members of the public.
Most people who responded to the consultation strongly supported the proposals, with the site in Mount View Street, North East Bexhill, being the preferred location.
There was also strong support for a long-term vision to create 'campus'-style facilities on a single site to address all mental health inpatient needs across East Sussex for many years to come.
Dr David Warden, Clinical Chair of the East Sussex CCG Governing Body, said: "Our plan to build a new hospital in Bexhill enables us to remove out-dated dormitory accommodation at the Department of Psychiatry and replace it with individual bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms for all our patients."
He added: "This means that people with serious mental health problems will receive high-quality care in modern and safe accommodation which preserves their privacy and dignity and provides the best therapeutic environment."
SPFT Chief Executive, Sam Allen, said: "Working together with our partners, we set out to involve as many people as possible - especially people who use the services and those who care for them - in our proposals. The proposals have been almost universally supported by those who took part in the consultation and, given this, we are confident that this is the best way forward for the people of East Sussex.
"We are also delighted that our long-term plans to create a centre of excellence for mental health services on one site in the future were also given strong support. This plan will go hand-in-hand with improvements to community mental health services to help people stay in their own homes rather than go to hospital."