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A £3m expansion of Priory Hospital Chelmsford will allow more NHS and private patients with mental health needs to be treated.

This significant investment at the site in Springfield Green will also create 20 new jobs.

The Priory hospital is building the 12-bedded ward to help cope with demand for its services across the region. Patients with a range of conditions - including anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and bipolar disorder - will be seen in the new facility, due to open at the end of June.

As a result of this significant investment, the independent psychiatric hospital will now provide care and treatment for up to 60 adult inpatients, both privately funded and with NHS referrals, with mental health conditions.

In additional to its residential services, the hospital also provides care for people with mild to moderate mental health issues through a range of outpatient therapy services such as individual and group based cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), as well as a specialist eating disorder service, and its Addiction Treatment Programme.

Priory Hospital Chelmsford has a highly experienced team of mental health professionals and support staff, which include consultant psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses and therapists. As part of this expansion, the management team will recruit three members of staff to its administrative support services, nine healthcare assistant (HCA) posts and eight additional registered mental health nurses (RMNs).

2017 has seen a fresh focus on the importance of 'opening the conversation' about mental health, not least with the recent activity spearheaded by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry through the campaign 'Heads Together'. Just last autumn, the Royals made an official visit to an Essex Secondary School (Stewards Academy in Harlow) as part of their ongoing awareness work.

Priory Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr Donna Grant, who will oversee the new ward at Priory Hospital Chelmsford, said:

"What we have seen from recent, high profile awareness campaigns is that it is vital to be open and better educated about mental health. Whilst I believe that we still have a long way to go, things are getting better and the more we can talk about mental health, the closer we will get to eroding the stigma around mental health issues.

"I am delighted to announce the opening of these enhanced facilities which will enable us to increase our services to patients referred from the NHS. I’m also proud that the Priory is playing a proactive part in responding to the very real need for more mental health beds in the UK.

"However, it's not just the statistics that are telling us there's a growing problem - I know from my clinical experience that there is an increasing number of adults and young people coming to us with mental health issues, seeking swift help and support.

"There are many reasons for this increase, although I do feel that pressure caused by financial and employment worries, the high expectations we put upon ourselves as well as general 'life stress', is contributing to the mental health epidemic we are currently experiencing.

"Positive patient outcomes are at the very heart of the services we offer at our specialist hospital - and the more patients we see, the more people we can help in their journey towards a strong recovery."

Priory offers tailored mental health treatment programmes for individuals suffering with depression, based on a patient's medical history and personal experiences. There are a number of specialist consultant psychiatrists who oversee the treatment, which may include a combination of both medication and psychological therapies. There is the option for receiving treatment on an inpatient basis if the severity, risk or personal choice is to do so.

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For details of how Priory can provide you with assistance regarding mental health and wellbeing, please call 0330 056 6020 or click here to submit an enquiry form. For professionals looking to make a referral, please click here

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