A ground-breaking ceremony has heralded the start of construction work on a new inpatient eating disorders unit in Poole.
Dorset HealthCare NHS Foundation Trust is increasing its capacity to support local people through the £8m development at St Ann’s Hospital in Sandbanks, which is due to be completed in 2023.
Currently, six inpatients can be cared for by the specialist team.
But the new two-storey building will be able to accommodate 10, reducing the need for out-of-area treatment.
In addition, the unit will also be able to offer daycare treatment as an alternative to inpatient care, and support earlier discharge to community care.
Representatives from the trust were joined at the ground-breaking event by developer Kier Construction, architects from Medical Architecture, and representatives from Gleeds Management Services.
Dr Ciarán Newell, consultant nurse for eating disorders at the trust, said: “We are absolutely delighted that this project has begun.
“The current capacity of six beds at our unit doesn’t meet demand and, as a result, some patients go to specialist units elsewhere in the country for treatment.
“We are very pleased that more local people will soon be able to get the care they need and still be close to their friends and family, which can aid their recovery.”
Eugine Yafele, the trust’s chief executive, added: “An increase in capacity of our eating disorders unit is necessary to reduce waiting times and provide specialised care for residents in the county and I am extremely grateful to council planners for recognising the importance of this development and giving us the go-ahead.”