The Department of Health has confirmed funding of £8.5 million to develop Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust’s new low secure inpatient unit to support people with learning disabilities, including those with autism, at Littlemore Mental Health Centre in Littlemore, Oxford.

As part of an NHS England initiative the new unit will be a regional resource that aims to provide safe and responsive services to people with learning disabilities, including those with autism, from across the South of England who need specialist care in a low secure forensic setting.

This will complement services already provided by the existing medium secure provision on-site. The unit is currently planned to have 10 beds.

People needing these services may be experiencing a range of conditions and have other complex needs requiring specialist care to support their recovery.

We already have well established specialist learning disability and adult mental health and forensic units at Littlemore and the site has a concentration of expertise in the management of a range of complex care needs.

Planning permission submitted in late June 2018 has been approved and initial works are due to begin in 2019, now that funding has been confirmed. The unit is due to be completed in late 2019 or early 2020 and operational in 2020 at an estimated cost of £8.5m.

It follows a successful bid by Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (BOB STP) for government funding for the NHS in the region.

Experts by experience have been consulted in the initial design phase. Patients, carers and staff will be involved in the details of the design and development of the service which aims to be tailored to their needs and to current best healthcare practice.