The Whiteleaf Centre in Aylesbury was officially opened yesterday by Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex.
The Whiteleaf Centre is a purpose-built, high quality facility providing mental health care for people in Buckinghamshire. Incorporating four inpatient wards, day hospital facilities, and providing a range of outpatient treatments, the centre opened its doors to patients in February 2014 and cost £42.8m.
Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex was given a tour of the new facility by trust Chief Executive Stuart Bell and other key staff involved in the development of the unit. Meeting staff and patients on Opal Ward, a 20-bedded mixed-sex rehabilitation ward, she learned about the activities and therapies provided that aim to help people on their way to recovery from serious mental illness.
Her Royal Highness was also shown the nature-inspired artwork throughout the Whiteleaf Centre that was created by artists in close partnership with service users. She then officially opened the unit and unveiled a plaque.
Chief Executive Stuart Bell CBE said: “We were delighted that Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex was able to join us to open our new building.
“Friday marks World Mental Health Day and just yesterday there was an announcement by the Government around creating a parity of esteem for mental health services.
“The Whiteleaf Centre is our contribution to this parity of esteem. It offers state of the art facilities for mental health care and it is fantastic the centre is now open and serving the community of Buckinghamshire.”
Trust Chairman Martin Howell added: “This is the culmination of nine years of hard work by our staff and this new building is a fantastic achievement that we were able to deliver on time and under budget.”
Ros Alstead, Director of Nursing and Clinical Standards, who was one of the key project leads behind the development of the centre, said she was delighted to see the Whiteleaf Centre officially opened by Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex.
She said: “The Whiteleaf Centre is the centrepiece of the larger Buckinghamshire Health and Wellbeing Campus, which brings together a spectrum of treatment and therapy services for adults and older people across its four wards.
“The centre sets a new standard for 21st century mental health facilities and is designed to offer 21st century patient care for those with mental illness in Buckinghamshire.”