Date published: 26 July 2021

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal has officially opened Mersey Care's £21 million state of the art mental health facility in Southport at the start of a visit to Merseyside. 

The Princess Royal was greeted at Hartley Hospital by Mersey Care's Chairman Beatrice Fraenkel and Chief Executive Joe Rafferty CBE, before touring the new hospital, which was completed and became fully operational during the pandemic.

Hartley Hospital, off Scarisbrick New Road, Southport, combines local mental health inpatient care and related community services on one site in Southport for the first time – replacing two old, worn out and unfit buildings.

The new hospital has two wards, one for adults undergoing a mental health crisis and another for older adults needing complex care. All 40 bedrooms are single with en suite bathrooms and patients have access to inner garden courtyards, therapy and activity areas. There is also a short-term assessment suite, on-site café, a family visiting room, sacred space, gym, suite of offices and outpatient services.

During the visit The Princess Royal met doctors, nurses, therapists and other health professionals from Mersey Care, including a member of the spiritual and pastoral care team and a service user representative. The visit was conducted under strict safety measures.

PA plaque.jpg

Chairman of Mersey Care, Beatrice Fraenkel explained: “COVID-19 safety measures mean we were unable to invite the many people who have contributed to bringing Hartley Hospital to completion over recent years – but today’s official opening is a tribute to everyone who has been involved.”

Chief Executive Joe Rafferty said: “This is a special day in a long journey which has involved service users, carers, staff and partner organisations in designing a world class mental health facility fit for the 21st century.

“Thanks to support from health and construction partners and importantly our staff, we completed the final phase of the new build in December 2020 and managed to move all remaining inpatient and community mental health services in Southport here despite the enormous challenges of the pandemic.”

He added: “We’re delighted Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal has been able to officially open Hartley Hospital. It’s not only recognition of our significant investment in the health and wellbeing of Sefton, but also all the hard work and commitment that exists across all NHS mental health services.” 

This is the latest accolade for Mersey Care having just been granted the Honorary Freedom of the Borough by Sefton Council along with several other Trusts for their work during the pandemic. Hartley Hospital is also shortlisted for two national design, building and service user involvement awards.

Hartley Hospital opening - Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust