"My experiences at Fulbourn Hospital"

About: Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust / Inpatient mental health care

(as the patient),

My experience as an inpatient has been pretty awful for quite a few reasons:

Hygiene - I think that it is terrible in the areas I saw, whenever I have used them the toilets and showers have been in a poor state.

Staff - In my opinion, the staff I've encountered have always seemed to be busy. I feel they have never had time for me. I have witnessed what I would consider to be forceful and rude behaviour towards other patients on a number of occasions.

Doctors - Supposed to be available, but when I ask to see them they don't come. They seem very vague and havn't answered my questions, won't disclose or give any feedback. One doctor also told me that I didn't need to attend a court date even though it was essential - could do without this sort of misinformation.

Section 17 leave - Some patients have a right to external leave from the ward, but Ihave witnessed people having their time denied due to "lack of staff". This is constantly brought up by patients in meetings, but I feel we are just fobbed off.

Rules - In my experience there are a large number of unsaid rules, which seem to change on a day to day basis. For example, our milk entitlement is 1 pint according to some staff, half a pint according to others, and none from others still! There just seems to be no consistency or concrete rules.

Internet - This was not working for a while, but was recently fixed. After using it for a few days I was banned, which I think was unjustified as I am not aware that there was any misuse. I think staff just didn't like that I was writing emails to people they didn't know, even though this is my section 35 right.

Compound leave - I have not been let out for fresh air since being admitted to the ward, and a clinician has decided that I won't get leave on this ward due to an absconsion risk (even though it is supposed to be a "secure" unit!). I haven't had this justified in writing, and I feel the judgement is inconsistent as other patients are let out who I feel represent no less of a risk than me.

Communication - Guidebook says there are "regular" visits from the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which in reality as far as I can see means every 18 months. There is a poster that is supposed to say when the next visit is, but it is blank. Advocates from the Independent Complaints Advocacy Service (ICAS) also visit the ward, but I've never been told by staff when they are coming, so it is left up to chance whether we meet them or not.

Fittings - Anti-ligature taps are very bad, they often trickle water or break. Auto-lights frequently fail.

Clothing - When I first entered the ward I had no clothing of my own. I was given spares by staff, but had no underwear. I didn't receive any new underwear until several weeks after my admission.

Toiletries - My toiletries are frequently given to other patients by staff. I asked for this to stop and requested labels putting on them, but it continued to happen.

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Response from Marie McKearney, Pals Manager, Cambridge and Peterborough Foundation Trust

I was very concerned and sorry to hear of your experience at Fulbourn. I would like to thank you for bringing this matter to my attention.

Please be assured that the Trust is working extremely hard to improve our ward environments to ensure that they are safe, clean, well equipped and create a stimulating environment for patients.

These improvements have been one of the Trust’s main priorities since December 2011. A lot of work has already been done and there are plans in place to ensure our ward environments are of a high standard.

I would like to thank you for taking the time to raise your concerns on the Patient Opinion website and for your willingness to work with us and make a difference to the services we provide. I very much hope that you might consider contacting me directly about your experiences in order that I can discuss these in more detail.

Kindest regards

Marie – PALS Team – Telephone 0800 3760775.

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