Hospital plans £45 million unit in Northampton to help children with autism

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A new £45 million unit to help children with autism and learning difficulties is to be built in Northampton.

St Andrew’s Hospital will start constructing the new mediium-secure building – the largest of its type in Europe – next year and forcompletion in 2015.

The building will bring together existing services for people aged 18 and under that exist already in Northampton but are not under one roof.

It will provide care to children with mental illness, autism and learning difficulties from across the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland.

The unit will be built on the site of the old school in Cliftonville Road, subject to planning permission, and will be in-keeping with the style of St Andrew’s Hospital’s most recent buildings, such as William Wake House.

A spokeswoman for parent charity, St Andrew’s Healthcare, said: “There are very few services like this elsewhere in the UK, and this will be the largest adolescent facility of its kind in Europe. We plan that the building will include educational and therapy spaces as well as residential facilities for 110 young people.”

The school for young patients, the registered name of which is St Andrew’s College, is already rated excellent by Ofsted.

The spokeswoman said: “At a time when the NHS faces significant pressures, as a charity and a major local employer, we will continue to make significant investments in improving the specialist care we offer.

“This expansion can be financed out of the surplus generated without need for any additional borrowing.”

The new unit, as well as a “wide-ranging refurbishment” will be paid for out of the charity’s record earnings, which were revealed this week. Accounts for 2012-13 showed earnings were up 21.5 per cent and growth in income of 5.5 per cent.

St Andrew’s also reported a turnover of £178m.

A public consultation will begin next month.