"Hollins Park: a hospital or a headquarters?"

About: North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

(as other),

Hollins Park was built to replace Winwick Hospital for the service users of Warrington. As Warrington Community Health Care Trust it was a pleasant, peaceful place where patients would recover from their mental disorder in comparative tranquilty. Not so now.

Since becoming one of the 5 Borough Partnership sites it has continued to lose out to other boroughs. More and more space is being taken over by administrators and trainers.

Now it is the little hospital shop that is under the axe. A small space with only one staff member, but it means so much more than this to the inpatients. It is thought that what has been provided by the little shop can be re-created within the Restaurant. This is not so, gone will be the chat with the same regular person, who has time to listen. Gone the discretion need when wishing to buy personal items.

The general good feeling of individual attention will be lost to inpatients. This should not be necessary and patients should have been consulted regarding this before decisions made. One person providing a service from such a small space could not be such a drain on resources to the trust.

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Response from Dennis Dewar, PALS Co-ordinator, 5 Boroughs Partnership NHS Trust

Thank you for making this posting.

I would like to reassure you and all the other people that use it, the shop in Hollins Park is greatly valued and there are no plans to leave service users and carers without access to such a service. The planned changes are as a result of a number of negative comments we received about the current location and opening hours.

Currently the shop is run by one member of staff which means that it has to close when they are on holiday, ill or not in work for any other reason. It is open for only 2½ hours each morning which is clearly not suitable for many patients. Some of our service users have said that because their medication causes drowsiness in a morning they are unable to get to the shop. Others have said that if they are on a “section” they can only go to the shop if they are escorted and as mornings are generally the busiest time on a ward, staff are not always available to do this.

Under the new plans, which will be in place by summer, the shop will be open from 9 till 5, Monday to Friday. This increase in opening hours will hopefully resolve many of the concerns which service users and carers have raised. Also, by placing the shop in a newly designed “café area” the current security issues of a lone member of staff being in a quiet area will be solved.

The “café area” will be fully staffed which should reassure you about your concerns regarding staff having “time to listen” to service users. The new shop staff will become familiar to those who use it and as a Trust we will monitor the standards of “customer care”. We also plan to make toiletry and other items available on the wards.

I am sorry that you are unaware of the consultation that has taken place. The ward managers and unions are closely involved in the project and a number of service users and carers are involved with the catering tender which includes the re-provision of the shop.

It is nationally accepted that the number of inpatients at any mental health unit has decreased in line with improved community services. Hollins Park is the headquarters for the Trust and a large proportion of our corporate administration and training staff are located here.

The resources available to the Trust are allocated in proportion to the contracts agreed by the local Primary Care Trusts.

Please do not hesitate to call me if you want to know more about the proposals or have any further questions.

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