More and more people are able to receive the mental health care they need in or near their own homes. However, some people need to spend time in hospital and our aim is to provide them with the best possible environment.

We hope this page gives you some useful information about what to expect if you, or a loved one, are going to spend some time in one of our hospitals.

We aim to make your stay with us a comfortable and safe one. We offer support and guidance and you can approach us at any time, day or night, if you have any anxieties or worries.

You’ll be given more information on admission, and of course, information is not meant as a replacement for staff who are always ready to deal with your questions and concerns. 

We wish you a speedy recovery and look forward to meeting you to help you through this distressing time.

Arriving at the ward

A nurse will show you around the ward, introduce you to staff and show you where you can safely leave your things.  You can give items of value to staff for safe keeping or to relatives to take home.  

Entering and leaving some wards may be controlled for your safety.

Coming into hospital can be difficult, especially if it is the first time or if it was not your choice to come.  We are happy to talk to you about the reasons why you have come into hospital.

Your first 24 hours

Everybody’s experience when coming into hospital will be different. We know that coming into hospital can be a very stressful experience, and our aim is to provide a safe, warm, therapeutic environment, enabling your recovery and return home as quickly as possible.

On the ward

When you stay with us you can expect:

  • To be treated with respect and dignity at all times.
  • To be given a clear explanation of your condition and the treatment options available.
  • To ensure your records are kept confidential.
  • To be informed about different treatments and procedures affecting you.
  • To keep relatives and carers informed of your progress, if you agree.
  • To be asked for your informed consent to any treatments or procedures.
  • To see your records if you wish.

If you are in hospital under the Mental Health Act a nurse will explain your rights and give you written information to keep.

What you may need while you’re on the ward

  • a few changes of clothes
  • nightwear, dressing gown and slippers
  • toiletries
  • writing materials
  • a watch
  • telephone numbers
  • snack foods
  • reading materials
  • a small amount of money

What you will be not allowed to keep on the ward

  • large amounts of cash, credit cards, etc.  Please ask your family or carers to take these, but if this is not possible please give to staff for safe keeping.
  • razors – these will be provided by the nursing staff if you need one.
  • lighters (and lighter fuel/gas) and matches. Staff will have access to lighters.
  • alcohol or illicit substances are not allowed on trust premises.

For your safety staff may ask you to hand in articles that may be harmful to you or others.  This includes sharp objects and glass articles.

We will ask to look through your belongings when you are admitted to the ward. This is for your safety and the safety of other people on the ward.  

If you have any medication please give this to the nurse who will store it for you or dispose of it.

If there is no one else to look after your valuables, please give them to a member of staff who will arrange safe keeping.  The trust cannot accept responsibility for loss or damage to your personal property unless it is handed in and a receipt is obtained for it.

Staff looking after you

You will be allocated a named nurse on admission. Your named nurse will assess and support you throughout your stay and plan your recovery with you.

While you are a patient on the ward a consultant psychiatrist will be responsible for your care.  The consultant is present on the ward most days and works closely with all other members of the ward team. 

If at any point you wish to have a second opinion by another doctor please discuss this with ward staff.

Staff wear name badges and will introduce themselves when they are involved in caring for you.  If you are not sure who a person is, please ask. 

These people may be involved in your care:

  • modern matron
  • ward manager
  • clinical lead or ward sister or charge nurse
  • staff nurse
  • associate practitioner
  • occupational therapists and assistants
  • healthcare assistants
  • psychologists and assistants 
  • doctors and junior doctors
  • psychiatrists
  • pharmacists
  • chaplains
  • volunteers
  • housekeeping staff

Some wards have a photograph board to show who everyone is.

Your care is delivered by professionals appropriate to your needs. Together these professionals make up your multidisciplinary team (MDT).  You will be invited to meet with those involved in your care throughout the week.


Nurses will give you your medication each day and will be happy to discuss your medication.  Written information about your medication is available.  

Pharmacy staff visit the ward regularly and are available to discuss any issues you may have regarding medication.  

If you wish to see a doctor about your medication this can be arranged.

Reviewing your care and treatment

The team looking after you will continually review the effectiveness of your care and treatment throughout your stay. Your family members, carers or any other person who has a significant role in looking after you will be involved in this process, with your consent.

If you or your relatives or carer would like an appointment to meet with any member of the team, please feel free to contact ward staff who will try to arrange it for you.

We appreciate that, for some patients, meetings to review your care can be a stressful experience. If there is anything the ward staff can do, including arranging interpreters, translators or advocacy representatives, please let us know and we will try to facilitate this.

Your named nurse, with your permission, will answer any questions that your relatives ask.  He/she will discuss with them your progress and treatment. When your named nurse is off duty you will be allocated a contact nurse. This is the nurse you go to if you have any problems or concerns.  Discussing your problems and treatment with your named nurse, or the nurse allocated to you in their absence, ensures continuity of care.

If at any time you feel you are unable to build up a satisfactory relationship with your named nurse, for whatever reason, please discuss the issues with the ward manager or deputy. You can go to any member of the nursing staff with your questions or concerns.

If at any point throughout your admission you wish to meet with your consultant or any other member of the ward team, please inform staff and they will try to arrange this for you.

The admission process

On admission

The team work with you and also with your family and/or carers, if you agree.

The first working day

The team identify the purpose of your admission.

Within 3 working days

The team meets to formulate your plan of care. This is called a formulation meeting.

Every working day

The team will review your treatment package each day.

Before discharge

Everyone involved in your treatment and aftercare will meet to discuss your discharge arrangements.


Meals are served in the dining room. If you have any special dietary needs because of medications, health, religious or cultural beliefs, please inform any member of staff.

Meal times are usually:

Breakfast 8.30am

Lunch 12 midday

Tea 5.00pm

Recreation and activities

All patients will have an individual programme for meetings and activities within the ward. A range of group based activities is available.

Physical health

Your physical health is important and can make a difference to how you are feeling. Within 12 hours of admission you will have a physical health examination by a doctor. From this, the doctor will request some routine physical health checks.


Your named nurse will advise you of the ward visiting times.  

We recognise that visiting times may not always be suitable for your relatives or friends.  Please discuss with staff who will negotiate other times.
Visitors are not permitted to smoke on the ward and smoking is not permitted in any Trust buildings or grounds.

Arrangements can be made for visits to be held in private.

Child visiting

This trust supports helpful and positive contact between children/young people and their parents/carers who are trust clients. 

The trust operates a child visiting policy which applies to all children up to the age of 18 years.  All visits by children must be pre-arranged with ward staff to ensure the visit can occur.  A responsible adult must accompany the child when visiting. Child visiting will take place in an allocated room to allow privacy for all parties.  

How long will you stay with us?

Although some people stay on the ward for a few days, some may stay longer depending on their individual needs. You can discuss your length of stay with your care team.

How can my views be heard?

Talk things over with your named nurse.

Use a notebook/workbook and jot down things you want to discuss or ask.

Ask people to repeat or write down what they mean if you did not hear or understand.

Ask someone else to attend meetings and speak on your behalf. This may be a relative, carer or advocate.

Our trust operates a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to the possession, use and dealing of substances on our premises.

Any suspicious activities will be reported to the police. If you see anyone acting suspiciously or discover any items you think may be drug related on the premises - please tell a member of staff.   

Arrangements at home while you’re in hospital

If you have come into hospital suddenly, there may be things that you need to sort out or people you have to contact. Mention this to the staff and they will help you.

You may need to:

  • make arrangements for someone you care for
  • make arrangements for pets
  • get clothing and personal things
  • get money and your benefit book
  • make sure that your home is safe and secure
  • pay urgent bills
  • cancel or re-arrange appointments
  • contact friends or other people

We request all patients to adhere to this code of conduct.

At all times treat staff, visitors and fellow patients with the same respect, dignity and consideration you expect yourself.

  • Patients are not permitted in bedrooms other than their own.
  • Treat the ward environment with respect, keeping the ward as clean and tidy as possible.
  • Smoking is only permitted in the designated area.
  • Patients will not keep lighters or matches in their possession.
  • Alcohol and illicit substances are not allowed on the ward.
  • Be considerate in the use of television and music systems.
  • Damage to property, staff or other patients will not be tolerated.
  • Always inform staff of your arrival and departure from the ward.
  • Inform staff if you feel someone is behaving in a threatening way.

Interpretation services

Every patient whose first language is not English, or who has communication needs, has the right to access a professional interpreter. Professional interpreters should also explain relevant information about treatment and care to carers and family members whose preferred language is not English. Ward staff will make arrangements for translation and sign language interpreters if necessary. 

Leave from the ward

As your condition starts to improve, you may be offered periods of leave away from the ward.  When this occurs you will always have a bed here on the ward to return to. In some exceptional circumstances you may find that upon your return you have been moved to a different bedroom than the one you left.

Visits home and discharge – post discharge service

A meeting with you and your family will be held to plan your discharge and after-care.  You may have visits home before discharge, these leaves can be supported by staff if necessary or family/carer.

Following discharge

In order to make a smooth transition home, a member of your care team will visit you within 7 days. You may also be offered:

  • outpatient appointments
  • visits from a community mental health worker at home
  • support from social services
  • support at home
  • contact with your GP

Same sex accommodation

We are proud that the vast majority of patients who are admitted to any of our hospitals will be cared for in a ward where they will have their own bedroom, many with en suite washing and toilet facilities. Find out more about our same sex accommodation here.

Chaplaincy service

Our chaplains offer support to service users, carers and staff and are available to people staying in our hospitals and having treatment in the community. Find out more here about our chaplaincy service.

Patient experience survey

If you stay in one of our hospitals you may be asked to take part in a short survey about your experience.

Patient safety

Find out here how we make our accommodation as safe as we can for our patients.

Infection prevention and control

Health care associated infection is taken seriously and all attempts are made to minimise the risk of transmission of infection.

Smoke free policy

Smoking is not permitted in any of the Trust’s buildings and we plan to go smoke free by March 2016

Until then there are designated smoking areas within the grounds. 

We promote a healthy lifestyle and a smoke free environment.

Smoking cessation is available for patients who want to give up smoking while in hospital.  Please speak to your named nurse for advice.