Lindum has been appointed to transform a currently unused mental health unit into a new mental health ward for women.

Work to renovate Ash Villa, at Greylees near Sleaford, is expected to begin on September 28th.

The £400,000 scheme will see the creation of an acute treatment ward for women who are experiencing a severe, short term episode of mental ill health.

Lindum was appointed to carry out the building work by Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. The contract was procured through the Pagabo framework.

Lindum director Richard Shaw said: “We are pleased to be working with LPFT to deliver this new facility, which will be an important addition to mental health services in Lincolnshire.

“We will be adapting and refurbishing the existing layout to provide 15 beds for an adult clinical service; in-line with all associated HTMs and HBN requirements of a mental health inpatient environment. The works will involve anti-ligature and anti-vandal elements.

“We are a local construction company and we will be using many of our own employees on this contract. We will also work with local contractors and suppliers where we can.”

The decision to reutilise the unit as a treatment centre for women will complement existing adult acute mental health wards in the county and support the Trust’s on-going response to coronavirus. As well as supporting its ambition to reduce the number of patients travelling outside of Lincolnshire for hospital care.

It will operate in conjunction with the existing wards in Boston and Lincoln, where patients will receive their initial assessment. If needed, female patients can then be transferred to the treatment ward at Ash Villa to receive on-going support before discharge.

LPFT Director of Operations, Chris Higgins, said: “The NHS has been in an unprecedented position over the last few months responding to the national coronavirus pandemic. This has had significant and long lasting impact on how the NHS and the Trust develop and deliver services now and in the future.

“We have wanted to eliminate the number of patients travelling for acute care for some time and coronavirus has magnified this challenge. Over the last two years we have had more females admitted to acute inpatient services than males and these additional beds will allow us flexibility across our entire adult acute inpatient services.”

Andy Rix, Chief Operating Officer, NHS Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group added: “The Lincolnshire health and care system is committed to eliminating the inappropriate use of out of area hospital care for mental health patients by the end of March 2021, by improving access to local mental health and learning disability services for the people of Lincolnshire.

“We have been working with LPFT and other partners for some time on ambitious plans to improve inpatient accommodation and increase the types of mental health services offered in the county, and coronavirus has magnified this challenge.

“We know there is likely to be increasing demand for mental health services following the coronavirus pandemic, so we have worked quickly to agree additional ward capacity to support those with acute mental health needs as close to home as possible.”

LPFT used the Pagabo Medium Works Framework to procure the work. The framework enables all public sector organisations to access a pool of pre-approved construction companies which have excelled in service, price and their positive impact to social value and potentially removes weeks of complicated work for clients, who require their contractors are OJEU compliant

Lindum Group is among a handful of construction firms which were successful in securing a place on the framework and is now able to use it to help clients near its offices in Lincolnshire, Yorkshire and Cambridgeshire.

Emma Hesbrook, Regional Relationship Manager at Pagabo, said “We are delighted to have worked on this project together with LPFT.

“We drove forward this project to make sure their needs were met, bringing them together with a partner that has given them the best value for money whilst still delivering quality on what is an important project.

“As that partner, Lindum have worked tirelessly to ensure this significant addition to the area’s mental health services is delivered on time and on budget.”