Collaborative innovation makes Austen House a success
Kingsway Group has ‘partnered’ with Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust on the design of the internal doorsets for the new Austen House low secure forensic mental health facility in Hampshire ‘to provide a solution designed with recovery and the service-user in mind’.
Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust officially opened Austen House, at Tatchbury Mount on the edge of the New Forest, last September; it ‘provides vital support’ for children and young people with specialist mental health needs in the South of England and beyond. Formerly Woodhaven, the 14-bedded hospital has undergone a £7 m refurbishment by Kier Southern. The Trust said: “Austen House is the only NHS unit of its kind in the South region; its opening will mean young people and their families no longer have to travel hundreds of miles to receive the vital support they need.”
Using its unique ‘Design, Define, Deliver’ process, Kingsway Group submitted a full-scale sample to the Trust for its clinical, security, capital projects, and design teams to test and evaluate. Kingsway said: “The process was conducted in an open way, with other manufacturers also submitting doorsets for assessment. An off-the-shelf written testing procedure would not have suited this project, due to the patient group’s unique needs.” Kingsway Group’s ‘Switch’ anti-barricade doorset was decided upon after several iterations, with Paul Johnson, the Trust’s Capital Project Programme manager, ‘making a vital design contribution’ for the design of the internal release handle – resulting in the creation of the Kingsway Smart ‘electro handle’, which is flush to the door, and allows release of the access control ‘in a safe and intuitive way’.
Paul Johnson added: “I really recommend that anybody looking for a door like this comes and has a look, and talks to Kingsway.”