"Staff didn't understand Schizophrenia"

About: Hollins Park / Crisis Resolution & Home Treatment Team - Warrington

(as the patient),

In 1992 I was on ward 21 and I was given about thirty tablets a day on the ward. I was over faced with food. Drug addicts were free to walk about the hospital along with alcoholics and people who had assaulted others. People could walk out the hospital at any time. They never had any drinks other then tea and coffee. The staff just looked at me and just gave medication at times without having a conversation with me. In 1994 I was on ward 31 and I had a very sore jaw. I think there was an incident with one of the nurses because my jaw was very sore. One of the patients, a very tall man who was a large build slapped me across the face for no reason. Another patient said I was handicapped and disabled. One girl even had very awkward mental health problems; I am not the psychiatrist but I wondered why she was so messed up.

So the worst part about my stay at Winnick Ward (now Hollins Park) was that the nurses who administered my medication did not explain what they were giving me- I did not understand what I was taking. They rarely spoke to me as they gave me the medication so it felt very ‘cold’. It would be nice if the nurses and doctors had spoken to me more, for most of the time I was on my own in a place which I found quite scary because there were lots of drug addicts and people who spoke to me in an aggressive way. I didn’t feel that the staff really understood Schizophrenia- they asked me a few questions about it when I was first admitted but then treated everyone in the same way. Nobody really spoke to me about having Schizophrenia. I believe it has improved now, since it turned into Hollins Park but I have not been since.

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

Thank you for taking the time to make this posting.

I’m sorry to hear of your experiences in Winwick Hospital in the 1990s. Unfortunately, many people have similar tales to tell about the old mental health institutions. How they felt totally depersonalised and lost in the huge institutions.

I’m please to say that I agree with you that things have changed for better.

Rather than just taking my word on this, why don’t you join our Service User and Carer Involvement scheme? This will give you an opportunity to choose whether to take part in a number of different activities, including monitoring services. We pay all reasonable expenses and for some specified tasks offer payment of £10 per hour. If you are interested in finding out more about this please call me on 01925 664450.

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