"I feel this hospital is the right place for me"

About: Wathwood Hospital

(as the patient),

I am currently a patient at Wathwood hospital which is a medium secure establishment. I am here under a section 47/49, which basically means that I was held in a prison establishment before I came here for help with my mental state. Before I arrived here I had visions of what a mental health hospital would be like and what would be going on behind the walls which did worry me a little bit, for example patients strapped down to beds and locked behind doors screaming madness or getting liquid cosh (sedated) and restrained and basically just patients walking around the place looking like extras from the walking dead or some other zombie movie. These images could not be further from the truth and are nothing like the scenes and scenarios that paint the true picture of life in Wathwood.

For starters there is no wall with razor wire, just a big fence where we can see the woods and fields surrounding the hospital which very often bring scenes of wildlife to our eyes like rabbits and many different birds and even a cat. The assessment ward I am currently residing on is in fact pretty chilled and relaxed and the staff are very accommodating and go out there way to talk and listen if need be and they also go out there way to get to know us and build a relationship with us so that we find it easier to approach and talk through our difficulties or whatever we are thinking or feeling. It is very obvious that the staff have patients best interests at heart and want to help, where as in the prison system it is the complete opposite and prisoners are just a number with a weekly pound sign above their heads where the staff don’t understand many mental health issues so they just punish and discriminate on a big scale against people who suffer with mental health issues.

When I was in prison I was constantly finding it hard to deal with my demons and was self-harming a lot of the time. I was constantly at war with the staff and governors and was being put down the segregation block where they would not open my door without at least 3 guards as they were saying I was a risk to staff and inmates alike which was not true but they were not prepared to take the risk. I have views about their motives and reasons for this but don’t worry I’m not going to bore you with some more conspiracy theories as we all know there’s already enough of those in the world (LOL).

Since arriving here my mental state has been a lot better and I have adapted to the surrounding’s and I feel fit with everyday life on the assessment ward which has a lot to do with the staff on the ward where I am as like I said before they interact with us and give us the time of day and basically treat us like the human beings we are rather than a freak show. I’ve always found it hard to talk about a lot of what goes on with me and keep everything to myself hidden away in my own mind but I feel I am in the right place to conquer this issue as the staff go out there way to make it easy to speak to them and interact with them as they are very friendly and approachable.

The hospital also has a lot of things to do to keep our minds active and keep us busy and help us learn to interact better with people. It has a gym with plenty of variety in fitness and weight training machines or there is a sports hall for playing basketball, tennis, football or other activities. There is a swimming pool for having a relaxing swim and also a big hall known as central activities where patients from all wards can meet to have a game of snooker, pool, table tennis or there is a computer with gaming chairs and an arcade game plus there is a set of music decks where we can mix some beats or just chill out and have a coffee or tea. This part of the hospital is also used for patient forums where we can talk about issues and the running of everyday life here at Wathwood. On the assessment ward where I live there is also a PlayStation 3, a Nintendo Wii and a big tele with Sky where we can watch movies or documentaries or even just watch the music channels.

The Occupational therapists who work in the hospital come to do activities with patients during the day to keep us occupied and active like sports, cooking, art, listening to music, play games or just have a chat about things in general or what’s going on in the world and our thoughts about it, so as you can see the staff here at Wathwood do as much as possible to see us on the right path and to keep our minds active and help us to get better and help us with our problems and issues. The staff also help us to understand about other patients illnesses as there is a wide mixed variety of us here and we are all different and have our own issues and problems and ways of coping or just going about our daily life and as you could imagine there are patients who are more poorly that others. There is also a very good library in here with a vast variety of books, CD’s and DVD’s that we can borrow.

While we are in here most patients can claim some sort of benefits to give them some funds to spend on things they need or want but because I am a prison transfer I am still classed as a prisoner by the Home Office I am not entitled to any benefits so the hospital very kindly gives me and other prison transfers £20 a week so that we can purchase the things we need. Wathwood hospital has got its own shop on the premises where patients can go once a day during the week to buy a variety of things from sweets to shower gel all the way to clothing to footwear. The best thing of all in my opinion is that every Saturday patients have a choice to buy a takeaway of some choice like Chinese, pizza, burgers, kebabs or curry if we want which is like a bonus in my eyes because we all know that nothing tastes better than junk food (LOL).

As a whole I feel I get along better in this place and I feel more comfortable and safe in these surroundings knowing that there is someone there day or night that is there to help or just listen and talk if needs be so I am happy to be here and feel this hospital is the right place for me and others who do need to be here. At first I wasn’t 100% sure but as I’ve settled in and got to know the other patients and staff on my ward I know I am in the best place for me to better in myself and keep on the right course to get to where I want to be in life. Also my family are a lot happier that I am here and are more settled and have better peace of mind that I am here where there are people who actually want to help and don’t just see it as a job so they are not as worried or scared that I am going to self-harm and end up in situations that I was inside prison which weren’t good for my physical or wellbeing.

Also since I’ve been here I have stopped smoking as all the patients do with the hospital being a non-smoking establishment but it was very easy to do due to the fact that the hospital gives you a choice of many different options to help like patches, lozenges or a fake fag thing which takes cartridges. I chose the cartridge thing because you still drag on it like a cigarette so it still gives you that fault sense of actually smoking. I have been here for just over 4 weeks now and the last time I got a nicotine cartridge was over a week ago so I don’t even use it no more apart from maybe once in a while when I’m a bit stressed or something. I feel a hell of a lot better for it as well and I can run a lot further than before when I was smoking when I would of struggled to run a mile but now I’m running 3 or 4 miles most days and still being able to talk normal after without throwing up my lungs and coughing up nastiness plus I’m not gagging for a smoke so that is a good thing.

So that is a few things that go on in Wathwood and how the staff work so I can’t complain and if you really do need to be here or somewhere similar I say embrace it and make the best of it because the staff are here to help and it could be a start of a new beginning in your life so I’ll leave it there for now and hope that my views have helped you to see how good the staff are and what a good place Wathwood can be to help people along the way to get back on the right path and help live a normal existence and just help all round with patients mental state and well-being. Thank you for listening…

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Response from Lisa Sutton, Ward manager, Wathwood Hospital, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust

Hello and thank you for your posting - it is great to hear such positive things about the way we all, patients and staff approach care.

Improvement in service and patient care are some of our most important drivers and forms the basis of our values as a hospital and a TRUST.

Thank you

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Response from Jane Danforth, Involvement Team , Involvement & Experience, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust

picture of Jane Danforth

Congratulations on your many achievements since arriving at Wathwood!

It was good to hear that the environment was much better than you anticipated and you have benefited from the surroundings and green space around the hospital.

It was also great to hear your comments about the staff as I know they take time to listen and they will appreciate your story as they have patients best interests at heart.

I'm so glad you feel better both mentally and physically and your family feel happier about your care and that you feel safe at Wathwood.

Your advice to others is very positive, keep going and well done for persevering.

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