State-of-the-art mental health facilities for East Cheshire unveiled

30 January 2020

Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CWP) is delighted to announce the opening of two new mental health wards in Macclesfield.

With names selected by service users, carers and staff, Silk and Mulberry Wards aim to honour the local silk-making heritage of the area and provide assessment and treatment for local people experiencing a mental health crisis.

Silk and Mulberry Wards are the result of a £4.5 million investment programme to modernise inpatient services for people who require a hospital stay, as part of wider improvements to local mental health services.

Sheena Cumiskey, CWP chief executive, explains: “The opening of the two units forms part of wider local improvements, which means local people can now access enhanced community mental health services and 24/7 mental health crisis care. These new services will support more people to continue their lives, with support, in the community whilst providing high quality hospital care when needed.

“I would like to thank everyone who has worked so hard to make these new services a reality, including our partners, and I would particularly like to thank our staff for all of their hard work and dedication during the transition period. We look forward to welcoming patients and their families in the coming weeks.”

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Mulberry Ward, based on the Lime Walk House site on Victoria Road, will provide specialist inpatient care for adults and older people severely affected by mental health problems including schizophrenia, psychosis and depression.  Meanwhile, Silk Ward, on the Macclesfield District General Hospital site in the unit formally known as CARS Ward, will provide specialist inpatient treatment and assessment for people with dementia.

Dr Andrew Wilson, clinical chair for the NHS Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), comments: “I am delighted to see the opening of the two new mental health facilities in Macclesfield. It is essential that we do all we can to provide patients with timely access to high-quality services. These new wards will ensure that service users get the best possible care to help them thrive and not just survive.”

Mulberry Ward opens as a 26-bed spacious modern ward, on one level, and features an open garden, courtyard, gym facilities, and all en-suite bedrooms. This ensures it meets the needs of people with physical disabilities or complex health needs, as well as meeting current guidance from the Care Quality Commission regarding privacy and dignity.

Silk Ward is a 15-bed unit, with the space taking into account the needs of people living with dementia and their families. Silk Ward also has an End of Life Room for families to be near their loved ones.

Dr Anushta Sivananthan, consultant psychiatrist and CWP medical director, comments: “Having dementia makes it even more difficult to spend time in hospital. Silk ward contains homely features to help people feel safe, comfortable and to stimulate memories, including a sensory garden and memory wall. There is also space for occupational therapy activities such as creative writing and reminiscence artwork. Understanding the needs of our patients, together with fantastic input from families, has enabled us to create a supportive environment where people can have the freedom and confidence to be the best they can be.”

Plans for the new units were approved last year following a public consultation where service users, carers and the wider public were asked about their views on how to improve the care for the 7000 local people severely affected by mental health problems.

Feedback from the consultation resulted in a revised preferred option (Option 2 Plus) being taken forward to implementation.

Mike Heale, chair of the Macclesfield Mental Health Forum, says: “The Forum has been campaigning for improved facilities for the last three years in East Cheshire and is delighted to see the opening of Silk and Mulberry Wards. The new wards offer improved amenities including en-suite bathrooms alongside an excellent environment for care and rehabilitation. I congratulate CWP for this investment and hope it will launch a new era for people experiencing mental health problems in the local area.”

John Colclough, Chair of the Crewe and Nantwich Open Minds Forum, says: “Crewe and Nantwich Open Minds is the independent watchdog/ pressure group for mental health in south Cheshire. We have been fully involved in discussions/ planning for the two new wards and five of our members visited just before they were due to open. The facilities are excellent - a huge improvement on what was available before. We now have in-patient services fit for the modern age."

“Wherever possible, people prefer to receive timely support at home, to prevent a hospital admission in the first place. Welcome developments in community services are already taking place, and we will continue to scrutinise the whole process to ensure that the plans come to fruition.”

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