PATIENTS in mental health wards across Worcestershire won't have to sleep in dormitories anymore.

A new multi-million pound project is seeing units across the county and in Herefordshire replace their old-style dormitories with private en-suite rooms.

An investment of £26million is being put into the work, which the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust says will improve privacy and dignity for patients, improving their recovery and wellbeing.

Dr John Devapriam, medical director at the trust said: "We are committed to providing the best facilities for our patients, to support them to reach their recovery goals.

"Replacing the existing dormitories in our mental health units for private en-suite bedrooms will improve the therapeutic environment for our patients, enabling personalised care, and supporting their right to privacy and dignity while they are with us."

The ‘Eliminating Dormitories’ project is part of a wider initiative taking place across the country to improve the safety, privacy and dignity of patients experiencing mental ill health.

It will see the removal of shared sleeping quarters from the Stonebow Unit in Herefordshire and Elgar Unit in Worcestershire, facilities providing inpatient care to adults and older adults experiencing "significant mental health difficulties."

The improvements will also have benefits for patient safety, including better infection control and a reduction of incidents involving other patients.

The Trust has appointed two building contractors for the project, with Speller Metcalfe undertaking the work at the Elgar Unit in Worcester and Galliford Try carrying out works in Hereford.

Mark Hudgeon, regional director for Speller Metcalfe, said: "Providing appropriate health services for patients is absolutely paramount to the NHS being able to continue with their unparalleled level of care and professional service.

"We are absolutely committed to enabling them to continue in the same vein, knowing that these improvements will have a lasting legacy for both staff and patients who need access to these services."

The work is planned for completion towards the end of 2023.