Scotland’s national brain injury unit opens its doors

Robert Fergusson unit among first-phase development at Royal Edinburgh Hospital

The Robert Fergusson brain injury unit

The first patients to be cared for in the purpose-built Robert Fergusson national brain injury unit transferred into their improved surroundings on the Royal Edinburgh Hospital campus earlier this month.

The unit first opened 25 years ago as a specialist clinic for the treatment of patients from across Scotland who suffer from psychiatric or behavioural problems after a head injury.

Throughout this process we have involved, listened to, and taken on board, the views of patients, staff, families and the public and we are confident that these new facilities will provide a therapeutic environment for our dedicated staff to deliver high-quality care

A quarter of a century later staff and patients have moved into their new building offering a modern healthcare environment designed to meet their needs.

The multi-disciplinary team based in the unit include: nursing staff, neuropsychiatrists, speech and language therapists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists; art therapists, and social workers.

As no two brain injury patients are the same, the team works together to create bespoke care plans around each patient.

After working in the old unit for 16 years, Michele Yeaman, senior charge nurse at NHS Lothian, said: “It is wonderful to be in our new, fit-for-purpose unit.

”Transferring our patients and the team from the old, dated wards to their new environment has been met with excitement and apprehension.

“Staff are working together to find new ways to deliver continuous care during this period of transition.

”Our patients are already starting to settle into their new routines and space.”

“The redevelopment of the Royal Edinburgh Hospital is a major commitment from NHS Lothian to improving mental health services

Professor Alex McMahon, executive director of nursing, midwifery and AHPs, added: “Throughout this process we have involved, listened to, and taken on board, the views of patients, staff, families and the public and we are confident that these new facilities will provide a therapeutic environment for our dedicated staff to deliver high-quality care.

“The redevelopment of the Royal Edinburgh Hospital is a major commitment from NHS Lothian to improving mental health services and we are looking forward to welcoming patients and staff into our adult and older people’s mental health wards over the coming months.”

The National Brain Injury Unit has been built as part of the £48m first phase of the Royal Edinburgh Campus redevelopment, which was handed over to NHS Lothian on time and on budget by development partner, Hub South East Scotland, and main contractor, Morrison Construction, in December.

Phase one includes new accommodation for the adult acute mental health inpatient service, older people’s mental health assessment, Intensive Psychiatric Care Service (IPCU), and the new Robert Fergusson national brain injury unit.

Further redevelopment of the campus is planned to be undertaken in phased stages over the next seven years following the announcement of a £120m funding package by the Scottish Government.

Phase Two work is likely to include a new integrated rehabilitation facility, a newly-refurbished MacKinnon House, and a new facilities management centre.

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