THE finishing touches are now being put to a £50million mental health centre on Wearside.
Hopewood Park in Ryhope is due for completion this summer before its opening in August.
The Echo has been given a behind-the-scenes look at the ultra-modern site as construction teams from contractor Laing O’Rourke prepare to hand over the centre to health chiefs.
Built on the site of the former Ryhope General Hospital, it is set to care for scores of people from Sunderland and South Tyneside, as well as the wider North East, who are suffering from mental disorders.
Once finished, it will house 122 beds which includes a psychiatric intensive care unit, a physical treatment suite, a pharmacy, exercise therapy areas and office accommodation for the trust’s Crisis Resolution and Home Treatment Team and Initial Response Team.
The project is part of a £60million scheme which includes the dementia centre which was opened at Monkwearmouth Hospital last year.
Tony Railton, of Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust which is are behind the development, said today that the site has been eight years in the making.
“People will look at the cost figures and say ‘I’m a taxpayer and that’s a lot of money’,” said Mr Railton.
“But I’m a taxpayer too, and I think the facility is going to be great value for money and I’m happy with the way the funding has been spent.
“Everything here is top notch and we think it will be great for patients and staff.”
Modern safety and security elements have been incorporated into the design, with anti-ligature door handles and door knobs put in patients’ rooms to ensure that they cannot self-harm.
Also in the hospital will be a lounge, open 24 hours a day, and a faith centre.
Ownership of part of the former hospital site was transferred to the Homes and Communities Agency and is now set to be built on by Barrett Homes and David Wilson homes in the coming years.
Once finished, a number of open days are to take place at Hopewood Park in which the public can have a tour before its grand opening in August.
Details of the open days will be released soon.