A NEW £40 million mental health hospital opening to patients on Tuesday has been hailed a 'fantastic facility' that the whole north west 'can be proud of'.

Atherleigh Park in Leigh boasts 48 en-suite bedrooms for vulnerable adults with mental health problems, a 26-bed unit providing short stay intermediate care for patients with dementia and memory conditions and a 16-bed unit for older people with mental health issues.

It has taken more than two years to build at a 3.9-hectare site that used to be Leigh East's rugby league ground – and the chief executive of the trust running the hospital says it has certainly been worth the wait.

The 5 Boroughs Partnership NHS Foundation Trust's Simon Barber said: “Atherleigh Park is a facility the Leigh and Wigan communities, and indeed the north west, can be proud of.

“I am incredibly proud of all the hard work that has gone into making Atherleigh Park a reality.

"It is a fantastic facility and will make a huge difference to the lives of not only the patients who are treated here but their families too.

“We have involved service users from the start of the design process to help us achieve our aim of providing a purpose-built mental health environment which promotes enhanced privacy, dignity and respect with a focus on improving patients’ physical health as well as their mental wellbeing."

With providing a healthy environment for patients having been one of the main priorities of the project, the Atherleigh Way hospital's facilities include a sports hall, gym, outdoor courtyards, therapy rooms, landscaped gardens, a nature trail and a cafe for patients, visitors, staff and the general public.

The trust says the hospital will offer new ways of working and improved patient experience with a focus on promoting privacy and dignity and providing holistic care.

It added that the light, spacious environment and communal areas will help to promote physical health and wellbeing.

The therapy courtyard will enable patients to plant and grow and they will be able to participate in educational, social and physical activities at the therapy hub.

There is also a multi-faith room and a child visiting room, to ensure patients’ spiritual and family needs are met, as well as space for partner organisations and community and voluntary groups to use.

Mr Barber added: “Local residents have been extremely positive and welcomed the development.

"This community spirit says a lot about the people of Leigh and Wigan and the community Atherleigh Park will be serving.”

Patients will be relocated to the hospital from mental health wards at Leigh Infirmary on Tuesday.

Vulnerable adults with mental health issues will move into the 20-bed men's and women's wards and the eight-bed psychiatric intensive care unit at Atherleigh Park over the course of the week.

Patients will be transferring from Leigh Infirmary to the 26-bed short stay dementia ward and the 16-bed ward for older people at the state-of-the-art new hospital the following week.

The hospital offers free parking and its wards have been been named after Leigh's mining heritage.

A date for the grand opening of the hospital will be announced in due course.