A MENTAL health ward in Hereford is set to benefit from a share of more than £400 million to improve the facilities.

The Stonebow Unit, near Hereford County Hospital, will use the money to replace outdated  mental health dormitories with single en-suite rooms, the Government said.

It comes as part of a Government pledge to improve the safety, privacy and dignity of patients with mental illness.

Run by Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, the changes at the Stonebow Unit should improve the overall care for inpatients, the Department of Health and Social Care said.

To mark World Mental Health Day, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said two facilities at the NHS trust will be among the first to benefit from the funding.

The NHS Trust will get £26 million for the work, which will take between two and three years to complete.

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."

Matt Hancock said more than £400 million will be committed across the country over the next four years to eradicate dormitory accommodation from mental health facilities.

The precise amount to be invested in the programme will be announced at the spending review later this year.

He added: "Mental health staff have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to keep mental health services open 24/7 so that those most in need can continue to get vital support.

"I am reiterating our commitment to those patients by stepping up our effort to improve our country's mental health infrastructure.

"By eradicating outdated and unsuitable dormitories across England we can ensure those suffering with mental illness are given the safety, privacy and dignity they deserve.

"Not only will the new single rooms improve the individual care we can offer patients, they will provide a better environment for our hardworking staff too."