Last week, I visited St Bernard’s Hospital, for a tour of the Wolsey Wing; one of its newly refurbished buildings. Since spring 2013, the wing has housed many of the local mental health services provided for Ealing residents, so I was eager to see the building, find out how service delivery has improved and discuss the trust’s plans for the future of the site.
Horizon ward, a male service users ward was my first stop where I met service users and staff and was impressed by the ward’s ‘Tree of Hope’ a functional image which allows service users to attach inspirational quotes and messages to motivate others on the ward. It was then over to Hope Ward, where I spoke to some of the women about their experiences of the mental health system, before going to Discovery Ward to view the artwork displays and complete my tour.
The St Bernard’s site is currently being transformed to provide a more modern and suitable environment for everyone receiving care there. This includes the construction of a new medium secure unit (MSU) which will be completed in early 2016 bringing all the trust’s medium secure services together into one campus. This will result in more effective care as well as a range of brand new facilities benefitting both patients and staff.
With local services based in the newly refurbished accommodation and the MSU project well underway, the trust continues to upgrade and make improvements to other services both on the St Bernard’s site and throughout the borough.
Once people actually realise the imperative work that takes place within mental health services or have their own personal experience, they finally understand how important the work of the trust is. Visiting the Wolsey Wing and speaking to Ealing residents, it’s clear that the trust is doing everything it can to improve mental health care both on this site and out in the wider community.
This work is helping to alleviate the negative stigma attached to mental health conditions and shows that although many people are affected, with the specialised support and care the trust offers, these conditions are manageable.
Leading the tour, Sandra Bailey, senior nurse manager said: “Virendra has shown a keen interest in our work, and this visit reflects the importance he places on mental health services in his constituency. He has already requested a follow up visit and expressed an interest in getting more involved with some of the activities we have coming up over the next 12 months.’