"Elm ward was the worst experience of my life"

About: West Park Hospital

I was admitted to west park hospital late last year with acute psychosis and bipolar disorder for the first and hopefully last time.

I was first admitted to Cedar Ward where the staff were wonderful, the ward manager was amazing and I felt safe and understood. I was making good progress in my short time on this ward.

I was then moved to Elm Ward for the rest of my stay and I was shocked at how the standards had deteriorated from Cedar to Elm.

Apart from the cleaning team who were gems, the nurses were too involved in there conversations with other nurses or playing on their phones and didn't provide support or a feeling of safety. (There was a handful of nurses who were excellent at their jobs and understanding the patients).

Apart from one amazing doctor, the other doctors didn't listen to my needs or concerns and didn't have much time for myself or other patients. We seemed to just be left in a ward with no activities or care and support, just a circle of chairs and books with most of the pages ripped out.

I also experienced bullying from both staff and inpatients. Staff allowed certain patients to taunt me and laughed along with it. One "doctor" even called me like an animal, calling "bitty" at the door of my room and made hand gestures when I was having a bad day and didn't want to leave my room for a consultation. Appauling behaviour from a "professional" in charge of a lot of unwell and vulnerable people. I was also accused of "faking my symptoms" by staff members when I truly wasn't, I was very scared vunerable and unwell in a ward of changing faces and uncertainty, yes, I had good days and very bad days and wasn't myself, but I was suffering from psychosis and as anybody who has suffered with this its like a living nightmare, not something to be mocked.

I felt misunderstood and that my wishes were not taken into consideration at all.

Also, the window in my room was stuck open and couldn't be shut (this is in October) and there wasn't enough bedding provided for the entire ward in the sense of spare blankets, so I also left the hospital with a cold.

I feel that my stay at Elm ward had a detrimental effect on my wellbeing. I do not have one bad word to say about Cedar Ward, but if you are admitted to Elm ward I would advise you to discharge yourself, its really not worth your time.

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Response from West Park Hospital

Thank you for your comments.

We were very concerned to hear of your experiences on Elm Ward as this is not the standard we would expect from our services.

Please be assured that we are actively looking into the issues you have raised with the ward team so that we can address these issues robustly.

It may be helpful to know that we have recently commenced a programme of work across a number of wards, including Elm Ward, to continue to improve the services that we offer.

This work is based on feedback from patients, families, staff and other data and will continue over the next 6-7 months.

Thank you for your kind comments about Cedar Ward, we will ensure these are passed onto the staff team.

Please contact us if you would like to discuss further, we feel that your feedback could also help in the staff education/development work regarding the lived experience of people who need our services. If you would like to do this please contact Corinne Aspel Lead Senior Nurse Patient and Carer Experience on 0191 3333566 or e mail corinne.aspel@nhs.net

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