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Fresh start for £15m Widnes psychiatric hospital
A £15 million 72-bed psychiatric hospital in Widnes has re-opened with a clean bill of health, creating 200 new jobs.
The Priory Hospital in Bennetts Lane was blasted by health care watchdog, The Care Quality Commission, last year for failing to meet 10 government standards.
The Priory Group has teamed up with Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (GMW) to form Recovery First, an innovative specialist joint venture caring for adults with serious mental health problems.
Bev Humphrey, chief executive of GMW, said: “This is a fresh start, a new beginning.
“We have been working very closely with the CQC. They have assured us we have met all their quality standards and are impressed by the improvements we have made. They will be coming back at Christmas to check everything.”
Six wards, each accommodating 12 patients, are set in tranquil, secluded gardens.
The en-suite rooms are light and modern and feel like more like a hotel than a hospital.
Brightly coloured pictures of fruit and flowers create a relaxed atmosphere.
Facilities include a fully-equipped gym, sports hall, arts and craft room, IT suite, rehabilitation kitchen, multi faith room, cafe and shop.
Fresh food will be cooked on site.
Hospital director Kris Irons said: “Patients are expected to stay between eight months and two years so we wanted it to be comfortable, modern and homely.
“This is an opportunity to do something groundbreaking and different.”
Staff started on Monday and the first two wards are set to open before Christmas.
Two eminent forensic psychiatrists, Dr Josanne Holloway and Dr Mark Swain have joined the team.
Bev added: “We are delighted to have recruited two very respected and credible national experts.
“This will be a specialist centre of excellence.
“We want to engage with the local community. Hopefully this will be a facility Halton will be proud of.”
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