A £15 million private psychiatric unit in Widnes is now offering free treatment to NHS patients, following a takeover by the Priory Group.

The 74-bed hospital in Bennetts Lane was prevented from admitting patients from the north west because its previous owners were not part of the framework agreement with the north west special commissioning group.

Matthew Franzidis, chief operating officer at the Priory Group, said: “The Widnes hospital fits perfectly with our portfolio and expands our presence in the north west.

“People living with mental illness in the area will now be able to take advantage of the excellent faciltiies and the expertise and experience of the Priory Group.”

Priory says the future of the hospital and its staff has been secured by its acquisiton, because Priory works with the NHS across the region.