Farran Heron Joint Venture (FHJV) has begun construction of Southport’s new £20 million mental health hospital with a ceremony to mark ground breaking on the site.

FHJV were joined by Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust Chairman Beatrice Fraenkel and Chief Executive Joe Rafferty  and guests for the sod-cutting to commemorate the official start of building and ground works.

The project will give a new lease of life to the historic site situated off Scarisbrick New Road, rejuvenating the only remaining hospital provision left on the former Southport General Infirmary site. The new-build will replace Mersey Care’s existing Boothroyd Unit located there, as well as nearby Hesketh Centre, which will close once the new facility is complete.

The hospital will combine local mental health inpatient care and some related community services on one site. All 44 bedrooms will all be single with en-suite bathrooms and patients will have access to inner garden courtyards, therapy and activity areas. There will be an on-site café for patients, visitors and staff, a family visiting room and sacred space, suite of offices and outpatient services.

Carrying out construction over the next two years will be FHJV, who built Mersey Care’s award-wining hospital at Clock View in Walton, which opened in March 2015. Commercial Director at FHJV Noel Mullan said: “Farran Heron Joint Venture is delighted to be working with Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust to deliver another prestigious healthcare project. The new facility will bring modernisation and centralisation of mental health inpatient services to the community of Southport. We aim to have a positive impact on the local community by providing job opportunities and promoting careers in construction with neighbouring schools and colleges. We look forward to working closely with our health partners and the local community while delivering the scheme.”

Chairman Beatrice Fraenkel, who is also Mersey Care’s Design Champion, said: “I’m delighted we are able to mark the start of a new phase in healthcare for this site. This new hospital will replace the out-dated Victorian-built accommodation which is no longer right for supporting modern day healthcare. We know that the right physical environment helps recovery and the design of our new building has been developed together with our service users and staff to ensure it’s both beautiful and therapeutic – and a great place to work.”

Chief Executive Joe Rafferty added: “People in our care deserve the best standards of accommodation and therapeutic environments within the resources we have. This new hospital builds on the success of our most recent hospital at Clock View, Walton, and goes a long way towards parity for the people of Sefton who access our services.”

Joining Mersey Care at the launch were representatives of Liverpool and Sefton Health Partnership (LSHP), which has over the past 12 years delivered 15 new health facilities, representing a capital investment of over £150 million across Liverpool and Sefton.

LSHP General Manager Mike Webb said: “LSHP has been honoured to be part of the health transformation that continues to take place across Merseyside. It is great to see a much-needed, modern mental health unit taking shape on the old Infirmary site, replacing two older units and aiding improved patient care.”

Pictured left to right at the ground-breaking ceremony are: Mike Webb from LSHP, Noel Mullan from FHJV, Chairman Beatrice Fraenkel, Service User Design Champion Don Byrant, Chief Executive Joe Rafferty and Gilling Dod Architect Andrew Arnold.