A 'place of safety' facility for people in mental health crisis is set to be out of action for six months as bosses close it for refurbishment.

The Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, the region's troubled mental health provider, is preparing to carry out works to its Section 136 suite at Hellesdon Hospital.

The facility at the hospital is a designated 'place of safety' for patients who have been sectioned under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act.

This is a point of law which allows police officers to detain somebody in public whose mental health has deteriorated to a point where they are a risk to themselves or others and take them to a 'place of safety'.

These places can include care homes, police stations or even the person's home if it is safe to do so - but are most commonly in hospitals.

However, once the refurbishments are under way it will mean there will be one fewer option in these situations.

Trust bosses say the refurbishments will help improve the care people receive once it has reopened - with staff expected to provide additional support at its other suites.

The organisation also runs 136 suites in King's Lynn, Great Yarmouth, Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich - which NSFT says will remain open during the Hellesdon renovations.

An NSFT spokesman said “We will begin improvement work on our Section 136 Suite at Hellesdon Hospital in the near future as part of our ongoing drive to improve the care received across our sites.

“Work will include a full refurbishment of the suite. The improved safety and experience of patients and staff who use the facility are at the core of our plans.

“We are producing a plan to mitigate any potential risks caused by this temporary closure before work commences. This will be delivered with the support of system colleagues, including our local police partners.”