FAMILIES across Craven and West Yorkshire will be able to benefit from a new therapeutic hospital unit, for people with complex learning disabilities, which officially opened earlier this month.

The Assessment and Treatment Unit (ATU) began providing care from a refurbished unit, on site at Lynfield Mount Hospital, Bradford.

The new unit is a joint venture between Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust, Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust as part of the West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership collaborative work. 

Selina Szczepanski, clinical manager for the Assessment and Treatment Unit said: “The space offers areas of relaxation, it can meet individual sensory needs and has several activity spaces. We have outdoor spaces including a sensory garden, areas for outdoor activities and spaces that encourage patients to get closer to nature.”

Following a consultation process with patients and staff the new unit will be named ‘The Najurally Centre’ in memory of Akhtar Najurally a dedicated health care support worker from Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust who lost his life due to Covid-19 and had worked for the service and NHS for 22 years.

Akhtar’s family were in attendance at the officially opening. Akhtar’s daughter, Sadja Najurally said: “It’s beyond an honor to immortalize my father in this way. Work was very important to him, he was known for being caring, loving and giving, so it’s wonderful that his legacy will continue. He would have been delighted that the new facility will be making a huge difference to patients and also to staff, enabling them to provide the right care with the right resources.”

Both ‘The Najurally Centre’ and ‘The Horizon Centre’ allow for more collaborative working which ensures consistency of care for patients. Dr Sara Munro, CEO for Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and CEO Lead for the West Yorkshire Mental Health, Learning Disabilities and Autism Programme said: “The physical environment accessed by patients undoubtedly plays an important role in their health, wellbeing and recovery and can also impact on staff wellbeing in the workplace. The investment in the design and development of this new specialist assessment unit is clearly likely to benefit the population with a learning disability who may need to access this provision.”

The unit will provide eight of the total 16 beds for West Yorkshire and Barnsley. The remaining eight beds will be provided from the Horizon Centre in Wakefield.