I was admitted to dudsbury ward back in March and I was appalled at the way it was run! The staff had very little time for patients, the building was unhygienic, there was NO privacy at all (six patients to a room? What's that all about?!), there was nothing to do all day, all activities where based outside (which means those of us who where ward bound could not participate). There was no communication, whilst in hospital here I had no idea what medication I was on, how long I was going to be in hospital for, how to appeal my section etc. I did ask staff these questions regularly but they did not have the time to answer as they where running around working incredibly hard whilst the managers, doctors and everyone above sat around in their little office all day doing nothing! The most entertaining and productive thing to do all day is attempt many different ways of escaping and taking ridiculous amounts of showers. If anything, being in hospital on dudsbury ward did nothing but make me worse! Now I am living in the community and terrified of asking for help again due to the trauma this ward gave me. Something really needs to be done about this as me and many other patients felt this way but where too terrified to speak up!

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Response from St Ann's Hospital

“We are sorry that you had such a negative experience of being on Dudsbury ward. We are also sorry that you felt unable to share your concerns while you were on the ward but thank you very much for being brave enough to do so now. It is difficult to fully respond to some of the issues that you have raised as we would need to know your details and refer to a number of sources of information to understand what was going on at the time of your admission. “Dudsbury Ward has a dedicated activities nurse who sits with the patients every week to agree activities, in addition to structured therapeutic activities that take place on or outside of the ward environment. There are exceptions about who is able to go out and this is usually discussed with the person concerned and alternative activity is quite often agreed with people that are staying in. We would be happy to share the current activity schedule with you. It is reviewed with the service users every week. The ward also has a weekly community meeting that enables service users to raise any concerns about what is happening or about their care. We also have Peer support workers who have lived experience of accessing mental health services and they offer support to service users. The Peer support workers also offer advice to staff about how we might improve the experience of the people accessing our services. “When someone is detained subject to the Mental Health Act they have their rights read to them and are issued with a leaflet that outlines what their rights are under the Act. They are also, as routine, given information relating to how they can make an appeal, access advocacy and other support services that are independent to the Trust for advice and support. We are not aware that there have been any exceptions to this on Dudsbury ward. “We recognise that staff are busy due to the nature of the ward, but it is difficult to respond to your concerns about how much time staff spend with patients because this is often based on the needs of the patient. We believe the team are hardworking and strive to meet the individual needs of everyone on the ward. We are happy to examine specific incidents should we be informed of these. “We do acknowledge that the building needs to be improved and some areas have now been closed off to allow the work to happen. We acknowledge that while the current situation on Dudsbury is not acceptable, the staff, our estates and facilities department and managers have taken all reasonable steps to ensure that while the building is in its current state, it offers the best possible solution until works are completed. Due to the listed status of the building there will be quite a lot of work that will need to go in to the planning of making changes to the unit because they would need to be in keeping with the building regulations. “We routinely have health and safety and infection control reviews and there has been no issue raised in relation to hygiene or infection control on the ward for the period that you refer to. “I hope that this has answered some of your concerns about the ward. We would welcome your input in relation to how we can improve the ward environment through feedback. We can arrange for someone within the trust to meet with you and discuss any specific concerns that you might have directly. You may also wish to consider becoming one of our peer support workers with appropriate training and support. “To enable this please contact Becky Whyte, Hospital Manager, who together with Hector Bayayi, Interim Associate Director of Inpatient Services will arrange to meet with you. Please contact Becky on 01202 492145 or via email becky.whyte@dhuft.nhs.uk.”

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