New mental health wards for Wigan | News and Events

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New mental health wards for Wigan


Atherleigh Park hospital, part of Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (GMMH), has been transformed, to add extra beds for patients with severe mental health problems in Wigan, and to create a more therapeutic environment for recovery.

Your Mental Health Matters board Atherleigh Park is a purpose-built mental health inpatient unit that treats adults of working age and later life adults (over the age of 65) in the Wigan Borough, living with conditions such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, severe depression and dementia.

Staff at the unit work closely with different health and social care organisations to make sure that physical health, housing, finances, social care and other social needs are also met.

Prior to the recent developments, analysis of admissions and discharge data by GMMH found that the capacity of the wards within the unit did not fully meet the needs of the local community.

It found that there were more beds for later life patients than needed, and not enough for adults of working age. Due to limited bed capacity, some adults of working age had to be placed in other mental health hospitals out of the Wigan Borough area, into what are known as ‘Out of Area Placements’ (OAPs). OAPs can be distressing to patients, and costly for the NHS.

The recent transformation of Atherleigh Park has seen the opening of a new ward (‘Prospect Unit’), bringing 16 additional beds for adults of working age; and the redevelopment of an existing ward (‘Golbourne Unit’) to add three extra beds (bringing the total to 21) for later life patients.

View of the corridor on the new ward The interiors of both wards have also been refreshed to include recovery-focused artwork and murals, new furniture, and updated design.

Emma Nazurally, Associate Director at Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (GMMH) said:

“It’s very important that people receive hospital care as near to home as possible. Moving patients further away into Out of Area Placements, can be a negative experience as it places them in unfamiliar environments, and can mean potentially less contact with friends and family. OAPs also tend to be most costly for the NHS.

“Our exciting transformation of Atherleigh Park has created additional capacity and created an environment that is as pleasant and therapeutic as possible. This means that our patients are able to receive the best care and treatment in their local area, which will help them on their recovery journey and return home as quickly as possible. This truly marks a new chapter for the highest quality inpatient mental health care and treatment in Wigan.”

“We are so thankful to all our staff - from our clinical teams through to operational managers and our corporate colleagues in Finance, Estates and Facilities for everything they have done to make this a reality.”

Caroline Cain, Head of Operations and Damien McAuley, Head of Operations Caroline Cain, Head of Operations at GMMH said:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on mental health, and the transformation of Atherleigh Park has helped us respond well to the changing needs of our communities. More patients are now able to receive quality care and treatment closer to home, in an environment that can be enjoyed by patients, carers and staff alike. Amongst other changes, two beautiful murals have been added to Golbourne Unit, and we are so happy with the final result.

“All wards at Atherleigh Park are named after local miners’ shafts, to recognise the proud heritage of the area. The name of our new Prospect ward was decided by a vote by staff, the local mining community, and Council constituents. We feel this name brilliantly demonstrates or ethos of optimism and hope for a bright future , whilst paying tribute to the Prospect mine, part of the Leigh pit. A huge thank you to everyone who voted!”

The benefits of the new transformation are also anticipated to generate large cost savings for the NHS which will be reinvested into services, further supporting patients, carers and staff.

Group photo of staff and rugby player guests

The new wards officially opened 04 April 2022, which was celebrated by an opening ceremony and ribbon-cutting on site at Atherleigh Park. The event was attended by staff and notable guests from the rugby league Championship and local club, Leigh Centurions.

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