NHS Ayrshire & Arran and North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership have taken the next step in building a new national facility for young people at Ayrshire Central Hospital in Irvine.

North Ayrshire Council has approved plans for the new National Secure Adolescent Inpatient Service (NSAIS), with building expected to start in July / August 2020.

This will be a 12-bedded unit for children aged 12 to 17 years who have complex difficulties and need a high level of care. It will provide the first secure adolescent inpatient service for young people in Scotland.

Stephen Brown, Director for North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership, explains: “Currently, there are no facilities in Scotland to care for this most challenging and vulnerable group of patients. This means that children are referred to secure adolescent mental health facilities in England, or in some cases, the child may be cared for in an adult inpatient setting. This places significant additional pressure and stress on the child, as well as their families.”

The development of this unit is a key strand of NHSScotland’s Mental Health Strategy 2017-2027.The purpose built facility in Ayrshire means that children will be cared for nearer to home in a facility that will provide appropriate care, treatment, therapies, security and on-going education.

Stephen Brown adds: “This service will improve the outcomes for young people who are seriously unwell and pose a risk to themselves. It offers complex mental health care and support services within an appropriate environment in Scotland.

“The unit will also provide a 21st century environment that will meet the needs and aspirations of the young people affected, as well as their families and carers.”