First look inside psychiatric hospital after £17m upgrade

Lynsey Shackleton, deputy ward manager Sally Ironfield, senior planning manager Donna Gallagher, ward manager Sandra Butler, acting ward manager
Lynsey Shackleton, deputy ward manager Sally Ironfield, senior planning manager Donna Gallagher, ward manager Sandra Butler, acting ward manager

NEW MENTAL health facilities have opened as part of a multi-million pound re-build of Fieldhead Hospital.

The Unity Centre is part of a £17m redevelopment of the hospital and will take adult mental health patients from Wakefield, Kirklees and Calderdale.

The modernised unit is more spacious and has been designed to let in natural light to improve the environment for patients and hospital staff.

Ensuite rooms have been installed at the centre’s Stanley male acute ward and Walton Psychiatric Intensive Care ward.

Sally Ironfield, senior planning manager at South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said improved facilities would help tackle the stigma attached to being treated for mental health issues.

She said: “It’s part of everything we are doing for our service users in terms of them feeling worthy and mental health not being something they should be ashamed of.

“On the old ward we had shared bathrooms. People get up and get showered here in their own ensuite and it’s a massive help to enable them to do that.”

Staff and people being cared for at Fieldhead were involved in the design of the Unity Centre.

Among upgraded features are pictures of district landmarks including Chantry Bridge and Nostell Priory on bedroom door observation windows.

The unit includes a new Section 136 Suite, where patients are taken if they have been detained under mental health legislation. Acting ward manager Sandra Butler said: “There is more privacy and dignity for people being brought to the suite.”

New child waiting areas on the unit provide more privacy for families when youngsters are visiting.

Exercise spaces have been installed to help patients work off excess energy and keep fit if they are on medication which leads to weight gain.

And hospital staff can observe how patients might cope when they are sent home in kitchens in the Unity Centre.

Ward manager Donna Gallagher said: “We get an idea of whether they are well enough to make a cup of tea or cook a meal. It’s an essential part of making sure they can function when they go home.