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BAM appointed to deliver new Betsi Cadwaladr mental health care unit

BAM has been asked by Betsi Cadwaladr University (BCU) Health Board to develop the detailed design for constructing a new inpatient adult and older persons mental health unit at Glan Clwyd Hospital in Bodelwyddan near Rhyl in Wales.

The Welsh Government today (Monday 10 October) approved the Health Boards outline plans and the scheme can now proceed to a full assessment.

BAMs involvement builds on the excellent track record of schemes it has developed together with BCU including the cancer treatment centre and neo-natal intensive care unit.

The £84.5 million, 63-bed mental health facility would replace the existing care and support services which are presently provided at the hospitals existing Ablett Unit and at the Bryn Hesketh inpatient older persons mental health facility in Colwyn Bay.

The plans include a 14-bed older persons mental health ward with en-suite facilities and improved recreational spaces. A 13-bed dementia care assessment unit will also be established. This will include provision for families and carers to stay with their loved ones overnight, as well as a secure courtyard, en-suite facilities to all bedrooms, and recreational and therapy spaces.

There will also be two purpose-built 16-bed adult wards with a de-stimulation area on each ward, which will provide a safe nursing environment for high acuity patients, preventing the need for transfer to other mental health units.

An assessment suite to enable suitable patients to be moved from the Emergency Department in a timely manner is included, as is more outdoor and therapeutic space and better staff and family facilities.

The new building will provide acute inpatient mental health care to adults from Conwy, Denbighshire and parts of Flintshire, as well as a new Dementia Assessment Unit, incorporating the latest evidence on dementia supportive environments, and a dedicated crisis assessment area.

The project has been awarded to BAM under the NHS Building for Wales framework, NHS Wales construction procurement and delivery frameworks for major capital projects with construction costs in excess of £4million.

Subject to final approvals being secured construction is presently expected to begin in 2024 and complete in 2026.

Rob Bailey, BAM Construction Director and healthcare lead in the North West of England and North Wales said:The BAM North West team is delighted to have the opportunity to work with the BCU Health Board at Glan Clwyd once again. This is an exciting and important project that will deliver significantly improved facilities for both patients and staff and accommodate more acute mental health beds to help Betsi Cadwaladr University meet current and future demand.

We have established a strong and successful relationship with the University Health Board through previously delivered projects and we look forward to continuing this success with this important healthcare project for the region.’

Sustainability will be at the heart of the design, supporting the Welsh Governments climate emergency approach. Biophilic design principles will be applied in the form of air-sourced heat pumps and photovoltaic cells on the roof of the new facility.

The BCU Health Board is the largest health organisation in Wales, providing primary, community, mental health and acute hospital services for approximately 676,000 people across North Wales and North Powys. It is responsible for the operation of three District General Hospitals, 22 additional acute and community hospitals, and over 90 health centres, clinics, community health team bases, and mental health units.

Teresa Owen, Executive Director responsible for BCUHBs Mental Health and Learning Disabilities Division, said:

This news will be welcomed by the many patients, carers, staff and partner organisations who have helped to shape these ambitious proposals. It represents a significant step forward in our improvement journey, as we work towards delivering a mental health unit at Glan Clwyd Hospital that is fit-for-purpose, enabling our hard-working staff to deliver the very best care that our patients deserve.

Work will now begin in earnest to complete a detailed and fully costed full business case. We look forward to sharing our proposals with Welsh Government and the many other stakeholders with an interest in this much-needed development.

Approving the outline case, Health Minister Eluned Morgan said:

It is vital that there are fit-for-purpose mental health facilities across Wales that will deliver high quality care for people who need urgent help during crises.

These new plans will help to improve the working environment for staff, reduce maintenance costs and provide patients and their families with the dignity and space they need to recover.

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board is subject to considerable scrutiny for mental health after being placed in Targeted Intervention by the Welsh Government. I am therefore pleased to see ambitious and much needed plans such as these move one step closer.

The design partners for the scheme are architects, Powell Dobson, structural engineers, Ramboll, M&E engineers, Arup, and MEP installers, Lorne Stuart. Gleeds will provide project management and cost advisor services to the BCU Health Board.