Akhtar’s wife cuts ribbon with Phil Hubbard, Director of Nursing, Professions and Care Standards (DIPC) and Deputy Chief Executive at the officially opening ceremony. Families across West Yorkshire will be able to benefit from a new therapeutic hospital unit, for people with complex learning disabilities, which officially opened earlier this week in Bradford.

The Assessment and Treatment Unit (ATU) began providing care from a refurbished unit, on site at Lynfield Mount Hospital, from Tuesday 31 January. The service had previously been provided in another section of the hospital, but the newly developed space will deliver a redesigned and improved therapeutic service for those accessing services.

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. Along with an existing service in Wakefield, The Horizon Centre, the new hospital area will support the care of people with learning disabilities living in West Yorkshire and Barnsley.

Selina Szczepanski, Clinical Manager for the Assessment and Treatment Unit with nurse Laura CastledenSelina Szczepanski, Clinical Manager for the Assessment and Treatment Unit said: “We are so excited that the new unit is ready to open for our patients. 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.

This joint work allows us to build on the different strengths of current service delivery and create positive change for patients and carers in terms of both experience and outcomes.”

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 sadly lost his life due to COVID-19 and had worked for the service and NHS for 22 years.

Akhtar’s family in attendance at the officially opening with Phil HubbardAkhtar’s family were in attendance at the officially opening. Speaking on behalf of the family, 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. This partnership is all about supporting more people at home and in the community, unless people need specialist care from an inpatient assessment and treatment unit. This is in line with national policy and the transformation agenda.

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, as part of the 2 unit West Yorkshire and Barnsley Assessment and Treatment provision, 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.

ATU’s are highly specialist services for the assessment and treatment of adults over the age of 18 who have learning disabilities. Their work involves bringing stability and intensive support to people to help enable them to return to their life in the community.