Our vision for child and adolescent mental health care in Dorset

Dorset HealthCare is at the forefront of developing excellent mental health services for children and young people. Our child and adolescent inpatient unit Pebble Lodge in Bournemouth has an ‘outstanding’ rating from the CQC as well as accreditation from the Royal College of Psychiatrists. The Quay School, which runs a satellite school on the site, is rated ‘excellent’ by OFSTED. We also run one of very few mother and baby mental health units in the country, supporting families affected by mental health issues following a new birth.

The quality of our current service means we have been chosen by NHS England as one of the trusts which will lead the way in further developing mental health services for children and young people. A national expansion programme is providing funding to tackle the shortage of specialist inpatient facilities and Dorset children will benefit from this.

There is currently no psychiatric intensive care unit for children in Dorset – local young people often end up being sent as far away as Manchester due to bed shortages nearer to home. Last year 33 children and young people were sent out of the area for specialist treatment. At their most vulnerable, they were separated from their families and the health teams that know them best because there were no beds in their local area.

With funding from NHS England, Dorset HealthCare is aiming to establish a centre of excellence for child and adolescent mental health services. At our Alumhurst Road site in Westbourne we are planning:

  • An expansion of the current Pebble Lodge Unit to provide two extra care beds (for existing patients who need more support) in addition to the existing 10 general adolescent beds
  • A purpose-built eight-bedded psychiatric intensive care unit for children and young people with the most complex needs. The unit will include accommodation for parents who are visiting and may need to stay overnight
  • Establishing a ‘discovery’ centre (much like the adult mental health recovery centre) working with Dorset Mental Health Forum to provide a peer support programme to help people on their road to recovery

Our mother and baby unit, currently at Alumhurst Road, will move to St Anns Hospital in Poole and will expand from five beds to eight to provide more specialist care for families with newborns.

What will happen at Alumhurst Road

The development needed to deliver the improvements will be subject to planning permission and a planning application was submitted to Bournemouth Borough Council in July.

We are committed to sensitively managing the development to minimise the impact on the site, our neighbours and the environment. With this is mind we will:

  • Ensure the design of the buildings is in keeping with the existing buildings on the site
  • Dig down for the foundations to ensure that no buildings are higher than the existing ones
  • Remove a number of trees but ensure we plant additional trees and shrubs to mitigate an visual impact and provide a pleasant environment
  • Create a comprehensive travel plan to minimise the impact on the local area and improve traffic flow on the site
Child and Adolescent Mental Health (CAMHS)