"Facilities for visitors severiously lacking"

I am visiting a patient on Bayman Ward and usually stay through the afternoon and evening as it is too far for me to drive home and back again. There are no facilities for visitors at all at weekends except a vending machine that dispenses crisps, chocolate, fizzy drinks and tea/coffee. The front doors are locked and it depends upon the goodwill of staff as to whether you can be admitted, via entry buzzer, to the inside route to the café. The option I was given was 'drive into Brentwood if you want to eat'. I and other weekend visitors who stay for a few hours have resorted to bringing flasks of coffee and sandwiches and eating them wherever possible, usually in the entrance lobby or on the one seat outside the main entrance. The café closes at 4pm during the week which means people visiting straight from work cannot access refreshments. The front door is locked around 5.30pm and you have to battle with the buzzer system to gain access to a drink from the machine. Bayman Ward itself is ok if you like bland, uninspiring and unstimulating places, however, the staff are good and although not usually many in number, they go about their work in a professional, positive and cheerful way. For patients that are bedbound upon admission it is the direst place to be, especially if they are mentally alert and lucid. No TV's above the beds, no real stimulation from looking out of the window and the hospital radio constantly on the same station whether playing your choice of music or not. Having worked in the NHS from the 1970's I feel that Bayman Ward is stuck in that era, with patients mindlessly staring at the ceilings and walls. Managers need to seriously think about whether they are providing a holding pen for vulnerable people which is the case at present, or a stimulating environment in which people can thrive and progress within the limits of their conditions. This is the sort of environment is in conflict with modern approaches to nursing and general care and needs bringing into the 21st century in terms of providing more than just the basics of health and care maintenance. The staff do all they can, but they need support in terms of providing a positive environment for their patients. Bayman Ward is the forgotten satellite of Basildon Hospital who need to get a grip and see the situation through wide open eyes.

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Response from Brentwood Community Hospital

Many thanks for your comments which will be passed on.

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