THE new Wellesley Hospital at Chelston promises to bring more jobs and boost the local economy, said Wellington Mayor Gary James when he helped officially open the facility.
The £20 million medium and low secure hospital will enable mentally ill patients to return to the South-West from hospitals all over the country and support them towards independence.
The new Wellington mayor, who cut the ribbons outside the doors to the hospital with Elysium Healthcare chief executive Joy Chamberlain on Friday, said: “I am delighted to be opening Wellesley Hospital today. As well as helping to bring patients who need such a specialist service closer to home, it is also helping the local community by bringing further jobs to the area and helping the local economy more generally.”
Wellesley Hospital, which has a team of 60 staff, will be continuing to recruit during 2017 and eventually employ about 200. The unit is opening in phases with two of the five 15-bed wards, all with their own lounges and gardens, up and running at the moment.
Other facilities include an IT suite, library, craft room, practice kitchen, gym, sports hall and small hard-surfaced football area.
Work started on the hospital site in February 2015 and at the end of last year NHS England confirmed it would commission up to 75 beds at Wellesley Hospital in collaboration with Devon Partnership NHS Trust.
Ms Chamberlain said: “I am thrilled to be here today, to officially open Wellesley Hospital in Wellington. There has clearly been a need for more services in the South-West and I am delighted after several years of planning and through working in partnership in with Devon Partnership NHS Trust, as well as other members of the network in the South-West, that the vision has become a reality.”
Dr Jason Fee, clinical director for Secure Services at Devon Partnership NHS Trust, said: “One of our overriding priorities over the next few years is for fewer people to travel long distances from the South-West in order to get the care and treatment they need.
“We also want to return people to the region as quickly as we possibly can when travelling elsewhere for their care has been unavoidable. The opening of Wellesley Hospital is a major step forward in achieving both of these goals.”