A CUTTING edge vision hopes to propel Oxfordshire into the international spotlight as a 21st Century care provider for people with mental health issues.

The Warneford Hospital in Headington is set to undergo a transformation that will combine clinical service with academic research.

Over the next 10 to 50 years, both Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust and Oxford University want to replace the current adult wards, build key worker accommodation and an atrium to act as a conference and social space.

Chief executive of the trust Stuart Bell said: “The reason we want to develop this masterplan today is to get a clear vision of what the future of the site will be in the next 50 to 100 years.

“And central to that is the unique opportunity to collaborate clinical services and academic research into better, more effective treatments for people with mental illnesses.

“Our thinking behind the masterplan is, how can we create something that will be a truly outstanding centre, internationally for the treatment of mental illness and for identifying and developing the best possible treatment.

“There is an opportunity here for something that is really cutting edge that matches the spirit of the academic endeavour here and that provides proper 21st Century care for people with mental illness in Oxfordshire.”

Although there is yet to be a definitive price tag for the development, the trust believes the project will be in the millions.

In order to fund the vision, which will span the next 50 years, the trust will work with the university’s fundraising team in collecting private donations.

A number has yet to be placed on the number of homes that will be built for researchers and trust workers, but there will be a mix of one, two and three bedroom properties to accommodate families of the employees.

New wards for adults with mental health illnesses will already replace the three wards on site, which offers 56 beds.

Professor John Geddes, head of the Department of Psychiatry at the University, said: “We have to make sure we power new treatments, new ways of preventing mental illnesses and the Warneford gives us a fantastic opportunity to do that because it is a site where we can bring together research and clinical care.

“We can produce something that is actually, globally important.

“If we maximise our ability to use that site then we should be able to drive forward advances for patients.”

The trust is encouraging residents to respond to the masterplan, which is available on its site: oxfordhealth.nhs.uk

Responses should be sent to: warneford@oxfordhealth.nhs.uk by the end of July.