New psychiatric intensive care facility helping to reduce out of area mental health placements in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent

A new state-of-the-art facility providing specialist mental health support has opened in North Staffordshire.

The £2.4m Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) is based at Harplands Hospital in Stoke-on-Trent, comprising six bedrooms with en-suite facilities.

Opened by North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust, the unit is linked directly onto the adult acute wards at Harplands and been designed to accommodate both male and female patients. It includes activity rooms, therapy rooms, a therapy garden and seclusion facilities.

The facility will allow specialist treatment to be available quickly for patients and as close to their home as possible. It has been designed to accommodate demand from the Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire areas, which will mean patients no longer have to travel significant distances to access this level of psychiatric care.

Reducing out-of-area mental health placements is a key priority of Together We’re Better, the health and care partnership for Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. It is made up of NHS and local government organisations, as well as a number of independent organisations.

Jonathan O’Brien, Programme Director for Together We’re Better’s (TWB) Mental Health Programme said: “This is excellent news for our patients and their families. Having this facility on our doorstep for the first time in Stoke-on-Trent means that patients and their families no longer have to travel significant distances to access this type of care. It is also excellent news for our health economy, commissioners and wider TWB partnership.

“By Combined Healthcare providing this facility, it means that we no longer need to commission expensive placements out of area for patients and can instead ensure investment is spent locally, providing consistent high quality care at a lower cost. This is entirely in line with TWB’s Mental Health plans for reducing out of area placements and providing care closer to home.”

Simon Whitehouse, TWB Director, said: “I’m really pleased to see that this new state-of-the-art facility has now opened and is already supporting people with intensive mental health needs.

“Those requiring this specialist support shouldn’t have to travel out of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent to receive treatment, so I’m delighted the unit is helping to make a difference to some of the most vulnerable people in our society.”