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An eating disorder centre for women could be set up in a former Derbyshire care home

An eating disorder centre for women could be set up in a former Derbyshire care home, meaning patients do not have to travel more than 100 miles for assistance.

Private healthcare company Cygnet Health Care, which runs a mental health hospital in Derby, wants to set up the new facility in the former Shipley Hall Nursing Home.

The care home closed in early 2022 after a highly critical CQC inspection report and was later put on the market for £1.6 million.

Cygnet says the new centre would “support women therapeutically so they feel well again and are able to recover in a place where they feel safe and cared for”, saying staff would “provide therapeutic support that focuses on improving the quality of life and enable the women to return to fulfilling lives in the community”.

In its plans submitted to Amber Valley Borough Council, Cygnet says it wants to demolish a large 130 sqm extension and two conservatories and build a two-storey extension, along with reconfiguration of remaining buildings to create a 26-bed eating disorder facility.

A decision will be made by the borough council in the next few months.

The firm says the new centre would create 107 new jobs including 66 nurse roles and support worker positions.

Cygnet makes clear that many changes are needed to bring what will remain of the former care home up to modern standards, particularly for mental health support, stating: “The existing care offer and layout provided in the building is reflective of its age, with bedrooms which are not en-suite impacting on patients’ well-being; poor sightlines through the building restricting the ability of staff to monitor patient welfare; windows which are not conducive to modern safety standards for environments where there are vulnerable patients; and cramped lounge/amenity areas, again impacting on patient well-being.

“The submitted proposals address the above issues and create an environment that facilitates a high-quality level of care to be given to patients in a space which meets modern space, safety, and amenity standards.”

The firm continues: “In order for the building to continue offering a care service, it is clear from the latest CQC report that physical changes are needed to ensure there is a modern and suitable environment in place to enable staff to provide a high level of care to patients. The proposal aims to deliver a facility that provides mental health treatment for those with eating disorders.

“In Derbyshire, and at regional and national level, there is a substantial and overwhelming unmet need for mental health facilities.

“Due to a lack of bed spaces or lack of suitable treatment facilities, patients can often be transferred far from the local area, sometimes in excess of 200km away from their families and care support network.”

If approved, the new facility would have 26 en-suite bedrooms; clinic, treatment and therapy rooms; lounges and visitor rooms; kitchens and dining rooms; and office space, staff rooms and housekeeping areas.

The firm says the proposed use of the care home, which sits in the protected Green Belt, should be approved due to the “overwhelming very special” circumstances of providing mental health support.

Construction has started on a range of new mental health facilities, overseen by Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, the county and city’s mental health specialists.

This includes two 54-bed facilities for general mental health support at Kingsway Hospital in Derby and Chesterfield Royal Hospital; the refurbishment of Royal Derby’s Radbourne unit; relocation of a 12-bed older adults mental health ward from Chesterfield Royal to Walton Hospital; a new eight-bed “acute plus” – high severity – mental health facility for women at Kingsway; and a new psychiatric intensive care unit for up to 14 men, also at Kingsway.

Previously, the trust has disclosed that Derbyshire patients with severe psychiatric disorders have been sent 65 miles to Bradford and 180 miles to Weston-super-Mare due to an absence of psychiatric intensive care units in Derbyshire, with a lack of beds for less severe mental health support too, also leading to “out-of-area placements” and hundreds of “inappropriate out-of-area bed days”

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