Designing better mental healthcare facilities

Planning approval for new-build Highgate facility

Hunters Architects’ healthcare team has won planning permission for a new Mental Health Crisis Assessment Service (MHCAS) for the Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust.

The designs for the new, 'innovative' mental health service at Highgate Mental Health Centre support the client’s year-long co-production work with service-users, carers, staff, and other local stakeholders, collaborating on the design of the new hospital building and the spaces within it.

The new facility will be a two-storey new-build, positioned between heritage buildings, and is partly extended over an existing single-storey building. The architects say this creates a sufficiently large first floor to accommodate all the key clinical adjacencies required for the Trust’s service, together with a courtyard garden, 'to engender a relaxed and calming ambience for patients experiencing a mental health crisis'. The new-build scheme is part of the wider strategic plan to move mental health crisis facilities out of hospital A&E departments and into appropriate specialist care facilities.

Tim Ashton, director of the Healthcare team at Hunters, said: “We worked closely with the Trust on a challenging site to maximise footprint for its needs, while creating a calm new environment for its patients. This is one of a number of mental health schemes we are designing in a sector which is at the forefront of everyone’s minds currently.”


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