Breaking ground for new mental health hospital in Bexhill

30 January 2024

A ground breaking ceremony took place today on the site of a new mental health hospital in Bexhill, marking a major milestone for local NHS services. 

At the same time, the 54-bed hospital on Mount View Street, Bexhill, was officially named Combe Valley - a name chosen by staff and service users.

Combe Valley Hospital has been developed by Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (SPFT) alongside NHS Sussex, the Integrated Care Board for Sussex, supported by significant input from local service users and staff.

The team standing on the ground with spades in their hands breaking the ground in Bexhill for a new mental health hospital.

Opening its doors during 2025, the new hospital will provide modern, high-quality care for people who may be experiencing serious mental health problems, emotional crisis, or severe distress which cannot be treated in the community.

The facilities will replace outdated dormitory accommodation at the Department of Psychiatry - currently based at Eastbourne District General Hospital - with a modern and improved therapeutic environment, including individual bedrooms with en suite bathrooms, for patients across Sussex.

Kier was chosen as construction partner, and its workers have been on-site at Mount View Street, Bexhill, since last year. They have been undertaking ground works and other activity to make the site ready for full construction.

Those breaking ground on the day included service users and staff, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (SPFT) Chief Executive, Jane Padmore, NHS Sussex Chair, Stephen Lightfoot - as well as senior representatives from Kier, Rother District Council, and Bexhill Town Council.

Dr Jane Padmore, who is a registered mental health nurse and has worked in mental health and learning disability services since 1990, said: "This is the largest development that we, as a trust, have undertaken for many years. Not only will Combe Valley provide a safe, therapeutic environment for the patients coming through our doors, but also give our staff a fantastic place to work.

"Thanks to our close working with service users and staff, we are confident that by next year we will have modern, high-quality facilities which will serve the people of East Sussex and beyond for a long time to come.

Stephen Lightfoot added: “This is an exciting day for all partners in the Sussex health and care system, and especially for those who work so hard in our mental health services. 

“This new hospital is a key part of the mental health improvements that our Sussex health and care system is making to implement our integrated care strategy – Improving Lives Together – which was launched in January 2023 and sets out our ambition to improve the health and care for everyone living in Sussex over the next five years.

“Supporting people when they need mental health support and care is one of our key priorities and it is clear that Combe Valley Hospital will play a huge role in helping us achieve our ambitions in this area by delivering better mental health services and essential support to people when they need it most.”

Cheryl Parsons, Regional Director for Kier, said: “We are proud to mark the start of works on site here at Combe Valley Hospital and look forward to working in partnership with Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and key stakeholders to provide improved and modernised services to the East Sussex region.

“We will use our wealth of experience and expertise to deliver this first-class health facility sustainably, benefitting the community for years to come.”

The team standing on the ground with spades in their hands at the breaking the ground ceremony in Bexhill.