A GOVERNMENT minister was on Wearside to have a look around a new £50million mental health hospital.
Minister for Care Services Norman Lamb visited Hopewood Park hospital yesterday, just months after the site, which is in Ryhope, was opened.
The minister was shown around the new hospital, which is next to St Benedict’s Hospice, by Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (NTW) chairman Hugh Morgan Williams.
Mr Lamb, who is also MP for North Norfolk, a position he has held since 2001, said: “I’ve been extremely impressed with the work by Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust and especially the fantastic therapeutic environment at Hopewood Park.
“It was extremely useful to hear about the services delivered by the trust and how they are benefiting the people of the North East and beyond.”
Built on the site of the former Ryhope General Hospital, Hopewood Park replaces the old Cherry Knowle Hospital and South Tyneside General Hospital’s mental health wards.
It also looks after patients who have complex on-going needs and require rehabilitation services and includes a 14-bed psychiatric intensive care unit.
The building also has a new central facilities building called The Barton Centre, featuring services such as a cafe, mental health act tribunal offices, a faith centre, a physical treatment suite, pharmacy, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and exercise therapy.
Speaking about Mr Lamb’s visit, Mr Morgan Williams said: “We were impressed by the Minister’s knowledge and concern for the need for parity of esteem.
“As the largest mental health and learning disability trust outside London, we were able to inform the Minister about our key challenges and opportunities over the next few years.
“The Minister emphasised how excited he was by developments and the care exemplified by NTW and asked if we would be happy to be used as a case study for excellence in mental health management and treatment.”