NHS bosses are set to launch a new-look hospital which will provide vital help for Hampshire children and young people with mental health needs.

Austen House, a 14-bed unit which aims to support some of the most vulnerable people in society, will be unveiled by Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust today.( Monday)

The new facility at Tatchbury Mount, Calmore, will enable patients to receive treatment closer to home.

Yesterday the Daily Echo revealed that between April 2018 and April 2019 the trust sent patients to centres in other arts of the country on almost 700 occasions, racking up a bill of £12.6m.

Named after the famous Hampshire author, Austen House occupies the former Woodhaven complex, which has been refurbished at a £7m.

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Last night Southern Health cited the national shortage of in-patient beds for children and young people needing specialist mental health care and said the new unit would make a "significant contribution" to the availability of low secure care.

The new beds mean patients will no longer have to travel hundreds of miles to receive the support they need.

Nick Broughton, the trust's chief executive, said: "I'm delighted that Austen House will be able to provide high quality specialist mental health support in a safe and comfortable environment, closer to home.”

The new hospital boasts state-of-the-art education facilities, plus an art studio, music room and gym.

It also has an in-house shop which will be run by the patients as well as social areas with a pool table and a multi-use games area. Other facilities will include private areas where families and carers can be with their loved ones.

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Mayura Deshpande, the trust's clinical director for specialist services, said: "The facilities available at the hospital are fantastic.

"They will help ensure our staff can give the best support and equip people with the tools and skills they will need when they return to the community.”

The new facility will be opened by Caroline Dinenage, Minister of State for Care.

Ms Dinenage, Tory MP for Gosport, said: "It’s so important for young people who need mental health support to receive it close to their loved ones, without the need for them to travel long distances.

"Austen House will provide an invaluable new service for young people in the south and support them to recover and return home."

The hospital, which aims to complement a medium secure unit on the same site, will start to accept patients from Tuesday.