More than £400m will be committed over the next four years to remove dormitory accommodation from mental health facilities, the Government says.
The pledge – announced to mark World Mental Health Day – builds on the £250m funding announced in July to remove the outdated dormitories.
The eradication of dormitories will improve the individual care that can be given to patients, allowing them to reduce the length of their stay in the facility, according to the Department of Health and Social Care.
It will also have benefits for patient safety including through better infection control and by reducing the risk of incidents involving patients or staff.
Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock also announced the first 21 NHS trusts that will receive funding to replace out-of-date mental health dormitories with single en suite rooms.
‘Today I am reiterating our commitment to those patients by stepping up our effort to improve our country’s mental health infrastructure,’ he said.
‘By eradicating outdated and unsuitable dormitories across England we can ensure those suffering with mental illness are given the safety, privacy and dignity they deserve.
‘Not only will the new single rooms improve the individual care we can offer patients, they will provide a better environment for our hardworking staff too.’
NHS England’s national mental health director Claire Murdoch welcomed the announcement.
‘Millions of mental health patients are seen by the NHS every year, many thousands as inpatients, and each and every one of them should receive care in wards that are therapeutic and support their recovery, which is why this funding will be so vital,’ she said.
Dr Adrian James, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, commented: ‘Replacing dormitories with single en suite rooms is a positive step towards the much-needed upgrading of mental health wards – even more urgent in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and a second wave.
‘With this funding, government is taking decisive action to properly support people living with a mental illness. We hope that the necessary investment in other areas of the mental health estate will follow in the upcoming spending review.’