BUILDING work has now finished on a £10 million "flood-protected" secure unit for women in York.

The first new patients have already moved on to the 22-bed unit at Clifton House, off Shipton Road, which will allow female adult patients with psychiatric problems and requiring a secure environment to be treated nearer to home.

Developers Balfour Beatty said it has now finished all construction on the site which has been funded on behalf of the Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust as part of a £4 billion national project.

They have said that as the building is close to a flood storage area, a six-metre water-resistant wall has been put up should flooding occur. The six-metre high wall acts as a flood barrier, with all building services being kept above potential water levels.

Peter Commins, Balfour Beatty managing director for the North West and North Wales, said: “We are thrilled to have delivered the first facility of this kind in North Yorkshire. It will provide an invaluable service for the community and enable patients with mental health issues to remain close to friends and family members."

It is the first such unit in North Yorkshire, with the first few patients returning to the area from as far afield as Northampton and Lancashire.

Officially classed as a low secure unit, the facility has a four metre high fence around its perimeter and smash proof windows as well as a seclusion unit.

As well as providing a service for female patients, existing male users of the services at Clifton House will also be able to use a new activity centre with a gymnasium, a training centre with supervised IT access and a visitors' area.

Fifty people have been employed to work at the new facility.

Among the conditions women will be treated for on two inpatient wards are patients suffering from mental health conditions including depression, schizophrenia and personality disorders.