12:26 14 January 2022
Overhauling a mental health ward that has been closed since March is expected to cost around £700,000, more than 10 times the initial estimated cost.
When the Rollesby ward closed last year following damage from an undisclosed incident, it was said the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust would spend £60,000 to refurbish it.
It was hoped the repairs could be completed in time for the ward, which provides a psychiatric intensive care unit, to reopen in December. However, delays in the supply of materials for the refurbishment saw the reopening postponed.
And now it can be revealed that the cost of the project has increased tenfold, with the final bill set at around £700,000.
A spokeswoman for NSFT said: “When the ward was closed, our Estates team took the opportunity to implement a much larger renovation and replacement project to further improve the environment for patients, including improvement of the courtyard garden, safety work to remove newly identified fix ligation points and fully mechanically ventilate the service.”
Amy Eagle, Acting Chief Operating Officer at NSFT, said: “Renovation work has begun in Rollesby Ward so that our patients can receive the best possible care in a safe and therapeutic environment.
“When it reopens, Rollesby will continue to be used as a psychiatric intensive care unit. We make sure people are supported while the unit is being renovated.
The development has led the trust to receive criticism for a lack of transparency about the program, with information about the project’s costs not revealed so far.
A member of the Norfolk and Suffolk Mental Health Crisis campaign, said: “The Rollesby ward only opened in 2012, it’s not a century-old Victorian building like other parts of the hospital, so how was it allowed to be damaged to the point that it needed a £700,000 overhaul?
“And where is the openness and transparency of the project? It’s really amazing.”
Meanwhile, talks about using the ward as a single-sex facility for women once it reopens are continuing, in a move that would see a ward in Ipswich become the male equivalent.