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"My experience of Cavendish ward at Leigh Infirmary"

About: Leigh Infirmary Mh Oupatients Clinic / Women's Mental Health Unit

(as the patient),


Although I wasn’t eating at the beginning of my stay there, I felt the food quality was extremely poor. Not very nutritious, high in fat content and not a lot of choice. My father was in hospital in Wigan Infirmary and when he was there I was asked if I wanted anything to eat so occasionally I ate the hospital food, which I thought was a very good standard.


Many of the nurses were nice, I know they have a difficult job but I feel that a few did not show myself and many other patients any dignity or compassion.


I found the standard of cleanliness around the parts of the ward I saw was very poor. I observed excrement and dirt left in the toilets and I have seen it in the corridors. Also there was underwear left in the toilets for days on end.

Garden areas:

These were particularly disgusting I felt, and was usually only for people who smoked, although I went out on occasion for fresh air when I could not go out anywhere else. It was littered with cigarette stumps and empty packets. On a few occasions, the patients cleaned it up themselves.


The ward was constantly boiling hot, even in summer, when I asked if anything could be done, I was advised it could not be turned down.

Visiting Area:

This was very inadequate for visitors as it was the same area as where you ate.

On several occasions I could smell smoke in the toilet area and around the ward. When I advised the staff there seemed to be lack of interest in this.

Staff behaviour:

I noticed several times, nurses were texting on their mobiles; I thought this to be very unprofessional considering the nature of their job. In most jobs you are not allowed to use your mobile as you are employed to do a job. If more time had been spent attending to patients needs individually then there may have been more improvement in some patients recovery.


There seemed to be not much attention given to more stimulating activities within the ward. The only things that seemed to be provided was pottery making, painting nails, making cards, playing games and occasional games using the WII fit. Many times I have seen the activity co-ordinator not providing this service due to staffing issues.


Response from Donna Robinson, Business manager - Adult services Wigan, Operations, 5 Boroughs Partnership NHS Foundation Trust We are preparing to make a change

Thank you for bringing the concerns to our attention. I have taken some time to explore as much as possible the issues which you raise and I will address each of the points in turn.


Catering is provided by an external contractor and all menus are compiled with the input of nutritional and dietician specialists. The menus provided meet all healthy eating guidelines set by various organisations nationally. The catering staff provide feedback questionnaires and ward staff also discuss catering at patient meetings. However I will ensure your comments are fed back to our Estates department who can liaise with the external contractor.


It is pleasing to hear that many staff were very nice. However without specific details it is very difficult to deal with this issue. If you would be able to recall any of the specific staff names and would be willing to discuss this with me then please do not hesitate to contact me on 01942 264622. The ward team are constantly attempting to develop the service and staff to provide an improve the overall patient experience. The trust provides training to enhance staff skills and it is a requirement for Health Care Assistants on the ward to have undertaken this. Please accept my apologies if the staff did not meet the required standards on this occasion. i can assure you your comments will be fed back to the ward staff.


The ward is cleaned by domestic services twice per day which includes the toilet areas. If any incidents are brought to the attention of staff they will be remedied immediately. The ward has achieved consistently high cleanliness scores throughout the year. This has also been enhanced by the provision of 2 housekeepers to the ward team this year. Please accept my apologies if on this occasion you do not feel the ward met with the appropriate standards. I will feed this back to the housekeeping manager

Garden Areas

Unfortunately the ward does not have a dedicated garden area. However we do have a smoking area that is utilised by patients to allow smoking on what is fundamentally a none smoking site. We acknowledge that this area has been problematic in it’s tidiness and the ward management are engaged with the Trust estates department to ascertain the cleaning requirements and responsibilities. Other garden areas are under the control of the host trust who provide the maintenance of these areas. We are also in the very early stages of exploring the options for a new purpose built inpatient facility on the Leigh site and we will be highlighting a garden area as an essential part of that design.


During the summer months heating to the ward is switched off during the daytime. The ward was very hot during this period and fans were deployed on the unit in an attempt to circulate air. The modern matron was heavily involved in raising this issue with trust estates dept and air conditioning has been requested a number of times in previous years. Unfortunately due to the current age of the systems within the building we have been informed that we cannot include air conditioning. It is expected that our new building will have better ways of controlling the air flow making it a more acceptable temperature for all.

Visiting Area

We accept your comments that the visiting area is inadequate and too small for the amount of patients/visitors . This issue has been raised many times through ward benchmarking activity such as AIMs and Essence of Care. The general layout of the ward does not lend itself to have a dedicated visiting area as space is somewhat limited for the number of inpatients. We are currently working with our Estates department to review the use of space on the wards and I will ensure your comments are fed in to this process. Again, it is anticipated that we will have dedicated visiting areas in our new building.

Staff Behaviour

I apologise to you if you observed staff using mobile phones within the ward areas. Staff have been reminded that the use of mobile phones is prohibited during their shift and may lead to disciplinary action. if you are able to share the details of any staff member using a mobile phone whilst on duty please do not hesitate to contact me directly on 01942 264622


Whilst the ward does have an activity worker who co-ordinates the activities described we have looked at this issue. We are in the process of developing further therapeutic activities on the ward. Currently we are piloting a project to involve psychological therapies into the ward activities programme. We are also recruiting for an Occupational Therapist to be part of the ward team. The ward manager is also currently negotiating to provide further input to improve the therapeutic nature of activities. It must also be noted that most activities are lead by patient choice therefore sometimes not all patients will find these to their desired level.

The trust are currently reviewing the services and facilities at Leigh Infirmary. It is hoped that in the future a brand new unit will be provided on the Leigh site and that this will go some way to addressing a number of the concerns expressed. However, i hope you feel your feedback has been taken seriously and i do hope that any further involvement with our inpatient services is a more positive experience for you



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