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Delivering in a challenging environment

Citycare have been supporting Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust to improve the lives of inpatients in one of their most demanding projects yet.

The Shared Agenda team, working on behalf of Citycare, have been managing refurbishment of The Humber Centre, based near Hull. The Humber Centre is a medium secure mental health unit for forensic psychology. Patients at the unit are detained under the Mental Health Act, or have come from local prisons, and staff at the unit work on assessing, treating and rehabilitating them on their journey to health.

A secure unit is a difficult environment to operate in day-to-day, so managing construction and refurbishment works on site was an immense challenge.

The Trust wanted to improve life for patients at the Centre by enhancing existing facilities, and adding additional services. They came to Citycare to lead and manage the project on behalf of the Trust, due to Citycare and their team’s extensive knowledge and experience working in similar challenging environments.

Phase one involved upgrading the Centre’s facilities to give patients a better quality of life.

A state-of-the-art gym was created to help patients improve their physical health and support improvements in their mental health. The Centre had previously had a swimming pool, but the pool room had been disused for a decade. It was transformed into a spacious, up to date gym, fit for a modern health facility.

The Centre also had a ‘tuck shop’ style hatch, where patients could buy items such as sweets, drinks, toiletries and other day-to-day items during their stay. This has been upgraded to a full shop area, staffed by volunteers, with tables and chairs, a coffee machine, fridges and a till area improving access to patients and allowing an increased range of healthy snacks and other items to be sold.

Phase two involved the refurbishment of the main clinic area and major alterations to the reception area and security control room, including the installation of a state-of-the-art key management system. This has made the clinic area more modern and compliant and, importantly, created a more pleasant environment for patients and visitors. The reception alterations provided a new, separate entrance for staff, improving efficiency and entry into the building, and a larger and more modern reception and control room, improving the overall entrance experience for patients, staff and visitors.

Managing the project was logistically very challenging, as the unique and sensitive environment gave challenges, including the temporary decant of the main access area and security control room and reception during the works.

All contractors had to be escorted at all times while in the building, and the ‘airlock’-style entrance means getting in and out the building is very difficult, requiring detailed planning with the clinical, security and project teams at the Trust.

Additionally, the building is occupied 24/7, and had to continue running as normal throughout the refurbishment. This meant works had to be phased to create minimum disruption. For example, reflooring works in communal corridors had to take place at night, when fewer people were walking around the building.

Future works are planned to begin soon, with two wards being fully refurbished to create a better living environment for patients.

Throughout the project, Citycare led and managed the project on behalf of the Trust, working in partnership and collaboration with the capital projects team, as well as security and clinical teams on site. Although the Trust were involved at all stages, Citycare oversaw the full project including managing the design team, design development, procurement and delivery of all works.

They have also been assisting the Trust on putting together a full programme of estates works for its forensic service, with further developments awaiting approval and funding.

Daniel Laughton, Projects and Strategic Development Manager at Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“Citycare have worked with us every step of the way to help us deliver this project. Secure mental health units are probably one of the most challenging healthcare environments to work in, but Citycare have made sure every phase has been delivered on time, to an exceptional standard. The improvements have made a huge difference to the quality of life for our inpatients and staff, and we’re looking forward to working with Citycare to continue work to make The Humber Centre fit for the demands of modern mental health care.”

Jonathan Ramsey, who managed the project for Citycare, said:

“This was a very challenging but rewarding project to work on. Engagement with the client stakeholders was key throughout the project from initial concept, design and delivery to ensure the project was successfully delivered. Completion of the works has had an immediate positive impact for both patients and staff, and we continue to work in partnership with the trust developing the next phase of works at the building.”

News & Views overview