NELFT hosted an official re-opening ceremony for Brookside adolescent unit | News and events

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NELFT NHS Foundation Trust provides a range of  community health and mental health services across the north east London Boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, Havering, Redbridge and Waltham Forest, Essex and Kent and Medway

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NELFT hosted an official re-opening ceremony for Brookside adolescent unit

NELFT officially re-opened Brookside adolescent unit yesterday. The Deputy Mayor of London Joanne McCartney provided the keynote address, before an audience that included the Mayor of Redbridge Gurdial Bhamra, local dignitaries, staff and patients.

The event was opened by NELFT Chair Joe Fielder, who talked about how proud the Trust is of the transformation of Brookside. After a short video underlying all the changes that have been made, a service user then gave the 50 plus attendees his perspective on the positive changes made at the unit.

Deputy London Mayor Joanne McCartney gave the keynote address, saying: “The Mayor [Sadiq Khan] has said he will be a champion for London’s health service and he intends to fulfil that promise. Mental health is a top priority for us at City Hall and I want to ensure that we use every opportunity to raise awareness of mental health and to take action through our policies.”

“This summer, the Mayor and the London Health Board will launch Thrive London. This is a new city-wide approach to mental health. We want London to be the most mentally healthy big city in the world and we want you all to be part of it and please do get involved.”

“On behalf of all Londoners, I would like to say a big thank you for all the amazing work you do here at Brookside and also for the work of your NHS colleagues across London.”

The changes at Brookside began in April 2016, when concerns had been raised by the unit management team about issues with the patient environment, which were also recognised by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors. Due to these concerns, the NELFT executive management team took the decision to temporarily close Brookside and undertake an extensive refurbishment programme. Over the coming months, more than 750k was spent on building renovations and an improved environment for patients.

When the building work was completed, NELFT, in agreement with NHS England, re-opened Brookside and was able to welcome the first patients in late September. The unit was then re-inspected by the CQC in October 2016 and the Trust was delighted to announce earlier in the month that Brookside had received a ‘Good’ rating across all areas.

As part of the changes, and in agreement with NHS England and local commissioners, the Trust has also developed a new, innovative model of care for children and young people across both acute inpatient beds and a Young People’s Home Treatment Team. The YPHTT is a 24/7 service designed to support young people in their own homes.

NELFT Chair Joe Fielder said: “Taking the decision to temporarily close the unit was one of the hardest decisions we’ve ever had to make. It became obvious that to improve the patient environment we had to temporarily close Brookside to be able to perform the extensive work needed to ensure that we have a building fit for future generations.

“I was delighted to welcome the Deputy Mayor of London Joanne McCartney here today to officially re-open Brookside. Since the improvements were made last year, the unit has been transformed and both patients and staff are benefiting from the improved environment. The feedback from service users is positive and the endorsement from the CQC leads us to believe we made the correct decision to close the unit. The staff here today have been able to demonstrate what a positive change this has been and we feel we have a unit that will be providing the best care for years to come.”

Pictured above are (L-R): Deputy Mayor of London Joanne McCartney, Integrated Care Director – Acute and Rehabilitation Directorate Caroline O'Donnell and NELFT Chair Joe Fielder.

To see more photos from the event, you can follow the day’s Twitter messages via our Storify link: