ALL mental health wards in the county will have individual rooms for patients after £26 million was awarded to help eliminate mixed-sex dormitories.

The money will help Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, which is responsible for mental health services, to get rid of the few remaining dormitories in the county replacing them with modern, private rooms and en-suites.

Most of the trust's facilities have individual rooms for patients with the exception of the 14-bed mixed gender assessment unit in the Holt Ward and the Athelon Ward, which is for people over the age of 65 with mental health needs, which are both at the Elgar Unit in Worcester.

The three-ward Stonebow Unit, which is based in Hereford and supports adults with mental health needs, will also be upgraded.

Sarah Dugan, chief executive at Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, said: “While the majority of our units provide modern, private facilities, improving the accommodation at Holt Ward, Athelon Ward and the Stonebow Unit has been a priority.

"Replacing the dormitories for private rooms will improve the individual care that can be given to patients, reducing the length of their stay in the facility and supporting their right to privacy and dignity while they are with us.

"It will also have benefits for patient safety, for example through better infection control and by reducing the risk of incidents involving patients or staff."

The work will cost £26 million and is part of national £400m programme.

Work is due to start this year and is expected to take between two and three years.

In addition to the unit improvement, the health and care trust has recently launched new neighbourhood mental health teams across Herefordshire and in Malvern, Wyre Forest and the rural areas of Worcestershire - including Martley, Knightwick, Great Witley and Tenbury.

The teams are made up of mental health professionals, GPs and voluntary and community organisations to provide better alternatives to ward admission which will help people with longer-term mental health conditions get support in their local area and closer to home.

This is part of a national pilot with plans to roll out the approach across Worcestershire in the future.