Orchard House patients will be moved to a nearby unit for the next ten years as a major £5.5million revamp to bring Jersey’s mental health provision “up to modern standards” gets underway.
Growing concerns about the safety of Jersey’s main mental health facility, Orchard House, alongside other units based at the former St. Saviour’s Hospital site, prompted the investment to address “challenges including maintaining privacy and dignity.”
Alongside the refurbishment of St. Saviour facilities Orchard House, Clinique Pinel and Rosewood House, the scheme will also see La Chasse - where the Community Mental Health Service is based - receive some investment.
Pictured: The mental health estate based at the old St. Saviour's Hospital site is to receive a £5.5million revamp.
The revamp follows the publication of a damning Scrutiny report, which told of islanders in mental health "crisis" being secured in prison cells rather than being sent to a specialised facility, as it catalogued a series of the island's mental health failings. Following the report, the Health Minister announced that Orchard House was to close.
In response to a recent written question from Deputy Kevin Pamplin - one of the politicians who sat on the panel that penned the critical report - Health Minister Deputy Richard Renouf explained that a “revised scheme… detailing the required scope of works across the trio of properties” was presented to Health Management and the Mental Health Improvement Board in March of this year.
“The plans were agreed and accepted at this stage. In mid-May, funds were allocated to fund the statutory planning requirements and start the detailed design for the project.”
Questioned by Express over the particulars of the refurbishment project, a government spokesperson confirmed that “a capital plan which amounts to £5.5million has been developed to make improvements to Orchard House, Clinique Pinel, Rosewood House and La Chasse”, adding that the refurbishment “would see all of our inpatient and outpatient services brought up to modern standards.”
Pictured: The island's key mental health facility has been the focus of growing concerns.
Elaborating on Orchard House’s current insufficiencies, the spokesperson said: “Orchard House is not a modern health facility and does not reflect a therapeutic environment for patients in mental health crisis or those needing assessment. Aesthetically, the physical environment presents challenges including maintaining privacy and dignity, the separation of men and women, over-heating and natural light issues.”
The news comes after Express unearthed a series of urgent improvement notices issued by the Health and Safety Inspectorate (HSI) on Orchard House in the first quarter of 2018 which revealed episodes where shards of smashed window glass was used as a weapon and the facility was running without an adequate emergency staff alarm system.
In his response to Deputy Pamplin, the Health Minister said that since these improvement notices, “there have been ongoing remedial works” which “has involved, for example, improving pedestrian walkways, enhancing the lighting and signage, replacing the staff alarm system and staff working with patients on improving the garden area to create a more pleasant outside environment.”
He added that further improvements are in the works: “A plan has also been produced which identifies c. £600k of improvements, including doors, windows, Wi-Fi and CCTV. This requires a detailed phased delivery plan due to the operational use of the facility; this is currently being worked on.”
Pictured: The Health Minister explained that there is ongoing work to update Jersey's mental health services.
Of this, the spokesperson said: “The immediate health and safety issues in Orchard House are being addressed but we cannot bring the unit to the standards required. Clinique Pinel is able to meet those standards for ten years while the island’s future requirements are considered.”
Therefore, acute adult mental health patients currently being treated at Orchard House will be relocated to Clinique Pinel in the meantime, but with the Future Hospital project still on hold – it’s not clear whether this will provide a long-term solution to the ongoing challenges facing the island’s mental health provision.
Continuing in his written response, the Health Minister added: “The remedial work on Orchard House is due to be completed by the end of this year; the relocation to Clinique Pinel is due to be completed by the end of 2020, although it is possible that some patients will move to the new facility before that date as the Clinique Pinel refurbishment progresses.”
The department say that Clinique Pinel is a preferable setting to treat these patients, telling Express: “The programme of relocating Orchard House to Clinique Pinel is due to be completed by the end of 2020. Clinique Pinel will provide a more therapeutically safe environment until longer-term plans for the service are developed.
“The natural light and space available mean that clinical care, privacy and dignity can be provided along with therapeutic support. Rooms for patients are more modern and the facility can be used in a more flexible way. There will not be a reduction in the 31 acute adult mental health beds as part of the move.”
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