Location for new East Sussex mental health campus is revealed by NHS

Services set to move from Eastbourne DJH to a new mental health campus in Bexhill

On Thursday (December 2), the East Sussex Audit and Health Review Committee (HOSC) will discuss grant approval for the final form of proposals to replace the Department of Psychiatry, based in Eastbourne DJH, with a new inpatient facility in Bexel. .

The Commission will be asked to consider whether the plans are in the interest of the East Sussex Health Service and, if not, whether to refer the matter to the Secretary of State.

The proposals, which come from the East Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group and the Sussex Partnership Foundation NHS Trust (SPFT), were approved by the HOSC at a meeting earlier this year.

This endorsement was given before the NHS confirmed that it would continue to develop its preferred option, a new location close to Wrestwood Road in Bexhill.

And while the HOSC approved the plans, it also made a number of recommendations on how to move forward with the plans.

This included a call for CCG and SPFT to work with NHS England to ensure funding plans are in place should a change in the market affect the viability of the project.

HOSC also called on the partners to develop a design that takes advantage of modern methods of construction and begin construction on this as soon as practicable, once the final site is agreed upon.

Other recommendations focused on transportation links for both patients, family, and patients moving between sites. As part of this, the CCG and SPFT recommended arranging a new bus terminal to service the facility.

The committee also requested that the psychiatry department’s urgent care lounge be replaced with a similar facility at Eastbourne DGH when the wider department closes.

The proposals come as part of a campaign to move away from providing mental health beds in dormitories – a practice the government wants to eliminate by March 2024.

The Department of Psychiatry currently provides 54 beds for acute mental health care across three wards, as well as crisis services and a “safe place” where police officers can take people they believe need a mental health assessment.

While it is the largest inpatient facility in East Sussex, its facilities are also located in dormitories.

Furthermore, the facility has been leased from the East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust – the body responsible for both DGH and Conquest Hospital – and the Sussex Partnership, the trust responsible for mental health services, has been asked to vacate the building by 2026.

While the initial proposals are only to replace the psychiatry department, an early feasibility study of the proposals indicates that the facility will likely be expanded at a later date in order to provide a single inpatient facility across East Sussex.

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