More beds for patients after shake-up at Wigan borough mental health hospital

A mental health hospital in the borough has been transformed to provide extra beds for patients with severe problems and a more therapeutic environment for recovery.

By Gaynor Clarke
Tuesday, 10th May 2022, 3:45 pm

A new ward with 16 beds has been opened at Atherleigh Park hospital in Leigh, while another has been redeveloped to cater for three extra patients.

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The changes came after analysis of admissions and discharge data found the capacity of wards at the mental health inpatient unit did not fully meet the needs of the community.

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Staff at Atherleigh Park

There were more beds than needed for patients over the age of 65 and not enough for adults of working age.

This meant some adults had to be placed in mental health hospitals outside the borough.

Emma Nazurally, associate director at Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, said: “It’s very important that people receive hospital care as near to home as possible. Moving patients further away into out-of-area placements (OAPs) can be a negative experience as it places them in unfamiliar environments and can mean potentially less contact with friends and family. OAPs also tend to be most costly for the NHS.

“Our exciting transformation of Atherleigh Park has created additional capacity and created an environment that is as pleasant and therapeutic as possible. This means that our patients are able to receive the best care and treatment in their local area, which will help them on their recovery journey and return home as quickly as possible. This truly marks a new chapter for the highest quality inpatient mental health care and treatment in Wigan.

Atherleigh Park

“We are so thankful to all our staff – from our clinical teams through to operational managers and our corporate colleagues in finance, estates and facilities – for everything they have done to make this a reality.”

The shake-up has seen the opening of the new Prospect Unit, which has 16 beds for adults of working age, and the redevelopment of Golborne Unit, adding three extra beds to the 18 already there for patients in later life.

Both wards have recovery-focused artwork and murals, new furniture and updated designs.

An opening ceremony and ribbon-cutting was held at the hospital to open the new wards, attended by staff and guests from Leigh Centurions.

Caroline Cain, head of operations at the trust, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on mental health and the transformation of Atherleigh Park has helped us respond well to the changing needs of our communities. More patients are now able to receive quality care and treatment closer to home, in an environment that can be enjoyed by patients, carers and staff alike. Amongst other changes, two beautiful murals have been added to Golborne Unit and we are so happy with the final result.

“All wards at Atherleigh Park are named after local miners’ shafts to recognise the proud heritage of the area. The name of our new Prospect ward was decided by a vote by staff, the local mining community and council constituents. We feel this name brilliantly demonstrates or ethos of optimism and hope for a bright future, whilst paying tribute to the Prospect mine, part of the Leigh pit. A huge thank you to everyone who voted.”