Words: Richard Beecham, Local Democracy Reporter
Plans to extend plans for a children’s mental health unit in Leeds have been approved by council chiefs this week.
Permission was granted for improvements to a new young people’s mental health unit, which would mean extra space to help adapt “for a post-pandemic world”.
The new £20m unit, to be known as Red Kite View, is set to open later this year, and will include a new enhanced Child and Adolescent Mental Health Inpatient Service (CAMHS). It is currently being built on the St Mary’s Hospital site in Armley.
But the Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation trust agreed to add an extra £3m of improvements to make the facility more Covid-friendly.
Leeds City Council has now approved amendments to the design to help the trust introduce improved safety measures following the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic.
This will, the trust claims, provide more space for staff, young people and their families or carers to socially distance inside the building, and improve points where service users could congregate presenting a higher risk of infection.
As well as 22 bedrooms, the facility will feature therapy and activity spaces, educational facilities and “welcoming areas” where families can visit.
Dawn Hanwell, deputy chief executive at Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said:
“I warmly welcome the council’s decision to approve our proposal to expand Red Kite View.
“Our shared ambition is to ensure we deliver the right care, at the right time, and in the right place for young people who require highly specialist mental health support.
“By providing more space we are adapting to our post pandemic future – allowing our staff to care for our service users in a safer environment. Our construction partners are working really hard to accommodate this expansion and we look forward to welcoming staff and young people into Red Kite View before Christmas this year.”
Red Kite View is set to open in December 2021 and will offer psychiatric and psychological help for young people aged from 13-18, who need in-patient care.