PLANS are underway to transform the upper level of Parklands Hospital in Basingstoke into a new 18-bed mental health ward.

The beds will be for female patients and will help ensure women in crisis receive the care they need closer to home.

Grant Macdonald, chief operating officer at Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, said “We are currently working with staff, patients, carers and families to design the ward to make sure it meets their needs. Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, we aim to start work shortly so we can open the ward in the Summer of 2021.

“We know there is a need for these beds in Hampshire and we are looking forward to being able to care for people closer to home in the best possible therapeutic environment”.

The development represents an investment of £2.7m into expanding mental health services for people in Mid and North Hampshire.

The space was previously used as an administrative base. These teams have been relocated appropriately and clinical services on the ground floor will remain unchanged.

The works have been enabled using internal capital funded schemes and are part of a wider programme of environmental improvement work across the Trust, which provides mental health and community services to people across Hampshire.

Other improvement works include providing a new 10-bed female psychiatric intensive care unit (PICU) ward at Antelope House in Southampton.

Part of the funding for these schemes has come from the Department of Health and Social Care. The funding to provide these services has also been released following a successful drive by the Trust to reduce the number of NHS patients sent to costly private healthcare facilities for treatment.