"My time at Millbrook."

About: Millbrook Mental Health Unit

(as a service user),

My admission into Millbrook was a roller-coaster of a time. There would be days when staff would seem to care and make time to talk to you and then weeks when patients would be left unable to even have 5 minutes to talk to somebody when they were struggling.

Admittedly is not the fault of the staff, but not enough was done to prevent drugs from coming in. I think staff knew about it but there was nothing they could. Several times I was verbally attacked by several patients when they were suffering from withdrawal from the drugs; my life was threatened, I was called all sorts of horrible names which triggered incidents for me and I even had to run to my bedroom to hide from one of the patients when they was being aggressive towards me because I feared for my safety.

I did not find the wards a therapeutic environment in any way shape or form. Some staff would talk in a negative way about other staff loud enough for patients like me and others to hear, staff would say equally negative things about other patients again within the ear shot of lots of people which I think is unprofessional and we as patients had a lot of conversations revolving around the fact that we didn't want to go to staff with any issues because we worried about what they were saying about us when we were not there.

I felt my consultant on the ward told frequent lies. This knocked my faith in the entire system and made me disengage with the majority of people. I was prescribed a PRN medication by a doctor who worked with my psychiatrist and the nurses on shift one day decided to give me a lower dose despite me needing the higher dosage.

There were coffee stains on the ceiling, blood stains left on the wall, holes in the walls, stagnant carpets, the smell of stale cigarettes, hair left in the bath, dirty cups everywhere and many other things which again I know is not the responsibility of the staff but made the ward feel grimy and not hospital like at all.

I heard and observed certain members of staff being controlling, overly strict and sometimes pretty aggressive towards patients. There was someone on the ward who through no fault of their own could not look after their personal hygiene. I did not see staff help this person to change their clothes or prompt them to wash when they were starting to smell bad. It felt like this was a common occurrence on the ward. A lot of people did not shower or change their clothes for a long time and I think this should be the job of the staff to gently prompt people to maintain their own cleanliness as it is common for people with mental health conditions to struggle with this but nobody on the ward seemed to bother, despite the whole corridors near the bedrooms smelling quite bad sometimes too.

On the occasions that I was struggling and felt able to approach staff for support I was more often than not told that they were too busy at that moment but would get back to me, which exclusively never happened and I was left without talking to anybody. Or I would be asked where my peers were on the ward and told to spend time with them instead which admittedly I would do a lot of the time but other patients I were close to also had their own mental health issues to deal with and should not be expected to support me through a crisis or a difficult time, this should be facilitated by staff. Peer support is important sometimes but relying on other patients to be the ones to talk to you when you had something on your mind or needed to talk about your mental health is not fair on them. This also happened in the reverse wherein other patients were told to come and find me when they were struggling which I do not mind about when I am feeling okay but when I was struggling myself, I was in no place to be supporting other people and found myself being occasionally triggered by other people's struggles. I feel that most of the staff do not have the time to spend with patients, even when they were struggling which is understandable when the ward was short staffed however when there would be extra staff not on observations or the door board, they would be most likely to be found sitting in the nursing office.

This is not true for everybody however, the ward I was on did have some absolutely great staff who can't be faulted at all, however, those staff were usually on observations for pretty much all of the shift or running round after everyone. I know this story is mostly quite negative but I am just trying to give an honest review of the ward from a patients point of view. The ward did have some good points like great activity coordinators, plenty of communal spaces and a good range of books/dvds to keep people from getting bored but in all honesty, it was not a hugely positive place for me  and I don't feel as if I made a lot of progress in my time there.  


Response from Sally Redgate, Acute Service Manager (North), Millbrook Mental Health Unit, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust

Dear Frostzz76,

Firstly, thank you for taking the time to write a posting we are always commited to improving our services and care provision.

I am concerned about some of the issues you have raised and would like to meet with you if you would like to further explore your experience at Millbrook and identify how we can improve. My contact deatils are below.

I am sorry that you feel that you have not had a positive experience whilst on a ward at Millbrook and that the environment is not as healing or conducive to yours and others recovery. The points you have raised have already been discussed with the Leadership team at Millbrook and we have identified actions we need to take to address those concerns. I would like to assure you that we will take action.

I wish you well in your recovery

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

picture of Jane Danforth

Hi, I don't think the contact details are visible. I will contact Sally to add them

I'm so sorry if it causes a delay.

Kind Regards

Jane Danforth

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Response from Sally Redgate, Acute Service Manager (North), Millbrook Mental Health Unit, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust


my contact details are:

sally redgate

acute service manager

MIllbrook mental health unit

Sutton in ashfield

NG17 4RJ

0115 969 1300 x 14842

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Response from Sally Redgate, Acute Service Manager (North), Millbrook Mental Health Unit, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust We have made a change

Dear Frostzz76

I thought I would update you with some of the changes and actions we have made in response to your posting to give you some assurance that we are committed to achieving and maintaining high care standards.

Environment issues: We have recruited an Environmental Care Co-ordinator who works closely with the Modern Matron & the Ward Manager to ensure all aspects of the ward environment is cared for. Part of his role is to provide weekly updates to the senior leadership team, including the matron about work that is required on the wards and actions to get that work done. He also shares this with the ward patients in the patient community meeting to involve them. This is shared too with the staff team; the staff are rostered every day to complete environment checks to ensure the cleanliness of the ward is maintained this is overseen by the Ward Manager. We have been able to escalate the issues to the Head of Estates and have seen improvements. We have also re-upholstered the furniture and this is looking smart and clean.

Staff presence and availability: We are currently recruiting Registered Staff Nurses to Orchid Ward. The Matron and I will be attending recruitment days in the next two weeks, this will mean more staff present on the ward to be available to patients. The use of the office by staff is closely monitored and they are regularly reminded of the need to be available and to work professionally and observe confidentiality.

Illicit substances: The service has implemented a new policy regarding this issue which gives staff more guidance and ability to act upon the presence of drugs; we are monitoring the effectiveness of this policy. To add to this, Orchid Ward will be changing very soon to an all-male ward which we know will improve the patient experience. All of the issues you raised was taken to the staff team and discussed and all points were addressed.

Please do not hesitate to contact me should you wish to discuss any of the above in person.

Sally Redgate, Service Manager, Millbrook Mental Health Unit. 0115 969 1300 x14842

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

picture of Jane Danforth

Thank you for your feedback, it really does make a difference.

Thank you to Sally and the staff team for working together to bring about this change due to your story on Care Opinion..

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