A NEW mental health ward for patients in Worcestershire was officially opened by Worcester MP Robin Walker on Friday.

The £800,000, 18-bed Holt Ward at Newtown Hospital - which is run by Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust - offers a safe and peaceful environment for people suffering from mental health problems who cannot be effectively or safely treated in the community.

The bright and airy ward replaces the hospital's Berkeley Ward and includes a large, peaceful outside garden area, which was not possible at the previous ward as it was not on the ground floor.

Worcester MP Robin Walker cut the ribbon on Friday, June 27 and said he had been very excited about the plans for the new facility.

"But that didn't prepare more for what I've seen today," he said. "It's hugely impressive.

"Wherever you go you've got a different view of the outside world.

"It's very cleverly put together."

He added the ward would be extremely beneficial for mental health patients in Worcestershire.

"Having a facility like this when people need it can make the difference between life and death, he said.

"There is a great need for quality facilities like this."

All patients on Berkeley Ward when the ward becomes operational on Monday, July 7 will be moved over, along with staff.

Ward manager Marisa Manning said she was excited to begin working from the new space.

"It's difficult enough when someone has to come into hospital but being in a nice environment helps the process," she said.

"The garden is excellent and means everyone can get access to the fresh air.

"I would personally like to thank the trust board for backing this project."

The trust's adult mental health service delivery unit lead Mark Dickens said he was particularly impressed by the outside area.

"This is the sort of place where you can feel a lot better," he said.

"For people with mental health issues having some space can have a very, very positive impact.

"I think it’s good the trust are willing to invest money in this and I know the staff are really enthusiastic too."

The trust's chairman Chris Burdon said he was pleased the new ward - the culmination of several years of work - was complete.

"When we do something like this the patient is always at the centre," he said.

For more on the ward and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust - which runs mental health and other non-emergency health services across the county - visit www.hacw.nhs.uk.