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Work starts on £5.5million psychiatric unit

Work has begun on the construction of Devon’s first Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU).

At the moment, people who need intensive treatment and support for mental health have to travel outside the county – often very long distances. Last year , 116 placements were made to a PICU outside Devon.

Work on the 10-bed PICU at Devon Partnership NHS Trust’s Wonford House site in Exeter, which will support men and women, is expected to take about a year, with the new facility becoming fully operational early in 2019.

Melanie Walker, chief executive of Devon Partnership NHS Trust, said: “Having our own PICU in Devon will make a huge difference to the lives of people who require a spell of intensive care and treatment to support their mental health needs. 

“Travelling long distances can be extremely traumatic for them and their families at a time that is already very challenging.  

“We are doing everything we can to reduce the number of people who have to travel outside Devon for any kind of mental health care and, in 2019, we will also be opening a brand-new Mother and Baby Unit on the Wonford House site.

“These developments represent a huge step forward for mental health services in the county and we are extremely proud of them.”