Dorset has one of the fastest growing elderly populations in the UK. A new 20-bed Older People’s Mental Health Unit (OPMH) on the Alderney Hospital site, designed by Medical Architecture, will address the changing needs of the county’s inhabitants, and will help the Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust achieve its objective of making Alderney Hospital a centre of excellence for elderly healthcare.

Subject to planning permission, the new inpatient unit will be located in the hospital’s attractive woodland setting. Timber from felled trees will be used to form an enhanced wheelchair accessible woodland walk. Ensuring the woodland is accessible to all enables staff, patients and the wider community to take advantage of the hospital’s mature woodland ecological setting for its therapeutic and calming benefits. This will also help to counter the stigma associated with mental health, fostering a sense of natural recovery and pride in the facility.

Conceived to communicate wellbeing and counter the stigma associated with mental illness, the new building will connect with existing wards on the same level. A linking canopy creates a shared welcoming foyer for visiting relatives. The new plan is organised around a therapeutic garden at its heart where abundant daylight, fresh air and natural planting provides an easily supervised space for reflection, recovery and social interaction.

Dorset, UK

Mental Health

Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust

Lead Consultant


Design Stage

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