"Access to computers on secure units"

About: Arnold Lodge Regional Secure Unit

(as the patient),

I am currently studying (part-time as in-patient) for an undergraduate degree with Open University. I’ve opted for an open degree which gives me more choice regarding topic options. I am in my fourth year (equivalent of year 2 for conventional universities) and have been in psychiatric hospital for that period of time.

Here at Arnold Lodge, the hospital policy prevents me from owning and utilising my laptop to help me with my studies. The Open University purchased the laptop for me after identifying how useful it would be for me with my mental disability/illness.

As the ward has a PC and there are computers in the education department, they justify its confiscation by saying that equipment is available in the hospital (that they provide) and that will meet my needs. There are many restrictions on usage and what programmes/software I can install on the hospital IT equipment as I am not the administrator of the computers. These restrictions are a serious limitations on my abilities that I miss as I was allowed my laptop in my previous hospitals.

I have raised the issue at the patients forum numerous times with it being referred to the policies committee who have not got back to me. I have formally complained to the hospital manager who reassures me that I will get an answer/reply to my request from policies committee.

They said that any Open University software could be installed on ward computer but three months on and I am still waiting for the software to be installed. I find this lack of resource a major handicap with my studies. There are other Open University students here and they all face the same problem as me as the policy is unit wide.

Please print my story on the web. I look forward to hearing back from you.

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

picture of Jane Danforth

Thank you for your posting about the difficulties you are encountering. I have forwarded this to Arnold Lodge general manager to find out if the policies committee have made a decision yet.

When I have received this information I will post the reply on the site. May I take this opportunity to wish you every success with your studies.

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Response from Julie Grant, Head of Communications, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust

Arnold Lodge is a medium secure unit and as such has a number of restrictions on what hardware and software patients can access, as well as other items. Laptops are allowed on the wards following thorough risk assessments.

We cannot comment online about individual patients but this issue should be taken up with your care team, if you do not feel your needs are being met.

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