A new, state-of-the-art psychiatric intensive care unit welcomed its first users yesterday, with many of them being saved a long journey for treatment.

Called the Clover Ward, the facility has moved from the Airedale Centre for Mental Health at Steeton to Lynfield Mount Hospital in Bradford.

A recent study revealed 80 per cent of patients made a near 11 mile journey from Bradford to Steeton for treatment.

Bradford District Care Trust decided a facility in the city would be more appropriate for its vulnerable patients, and the shake up would save money.

The Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Dale Smith, opened the environmentally-friendly ward yesterday, and praised the trust for involving patients in its design.

The vacated building at the Airedale Centre for Mental Health will now be converted to a psychiatric inpatient ward for elderly people which is expected to open next year.

The Clover Ward provides care for adults experiencing an episode of serious mental ill health, and has ten en-suite rooms.

It includes a therapeutic kitchen used for patient activities, such as teaching cooking skills, food hygiene and baking sessions.

There are also separate male and female dining lounges, a games room, TV room, arts centre, relaxation area and computer suite.

The decision to move was made following a four month public consultation, which ended last May. At times half of the beds at the Airedale PICU ward were empty, and up to three members of staff were needed to transport patients there from Bradford by ambulance.

Service users have been involved throughout the centre’s design and Stephen Tyson, a service user representative who acted as a consultant on the plans said: “It feels safe and comfortable and this is very important. I think we’ve achieved something remarkable here. The insight and experience of people who have used the services has given it a personal feel.”

At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, the Lord Mayor said: “It’s a tremendous privilege to be here and I am delighted that service users have been involved in the design.

“Mental health is often a hidden problem and it is units like this one that will help people to benefit from the care they need. This isn’t just about a building; it’s about the people within it, including its dedicated staff.”

The facility also features ‘sun tubes’ to allow natural light to flood into corridor areas, high efficiency lighting solutions and outdoor garden furniture made from recycled materials. Wall murals depicting woodland and mountain scenes decorate the building in an attempt to create a peaceful setting.