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Acute mental health project launched

Oak Unit opening 010 copyThe new Oak Unit at Sandwell Hospital was officially opened today, Monday 4th November, offering a purpose built environment for people in the Emergency Department with mental health needs. The Oak Unit is a joint venture between the Trust, Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, and the Sandwell and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group.

The unit was officially opened by members of Sandwell COPE, a newly formed group that gives carers a voice in the planning and delivery of services across the borough. The unit will improve the care provided for patients, with mental health needs, by allowing staff to swiftly assess and deal with their problem in a purpose-built area. Trust staff will be based within the unit and will continue to run their mental health liaison service, providing support and guidance to patients and staff within the Department and across the hospital.

Patrick Compton, Sandwell COPE, commented that "having dedicated staff and a space for people with mental health needs is what the Accident and Emergency department has always needed. It will enable people with mental health difficulties to feel safer and secure and will stop the long wait, in an often noisy waiting area, increasing any feelings of fear or paranoia. It will make a great difference - we are so happy to see it up and running".

Sue Morrow, Interim Service Manager said "We are very pleased with the calming effect of the new environment and the facilities we have helped produce. Working with Sandwell and West Birmigham Hospitals NHS Trust has been a very positive experience and together we have managed to create an area that will provide a fast and positive experience for people with mental health difficulties".

The Oak Unit will offer extended hours of access from 8.00am to 10.00pm, seven days a week.