|24th June 2008
Nicky Bennett: Inpatient Manager
The Old Manor Hospital was originally a private mad-house. It’s a classic large site, which used to include a farm, and where, in keeping with the rather Gothic name, houses across the road were accessed by underground tunnels! The ballroom complete with spring floor (and how we wish every hospital today had a ballroom) had a basement underneath it which was used by the Home Guard as a firing range during the war! (Given how uptight the H&S people get about the risk from tiddly-winks and hamsters, they’d find the presence of so much ammunition on site rather challenging.)
Beechlydene Ward, Salisbury
This is the most beautiful, gorgeous, funky ward I’ve seen. In the 70s, a prefab was put up as temporary home for the acute admissions ward. It was used til 4 years ago when the current jewel was built. It’s amazingly spacious, with loads of natural light, and artwork not only on the walls but also the ceiling and floor. As well as a patient-designed motif within the laminate flooring, there are several pieces of furniture which are as much sculptures as things to stick your bum on. The entrance area has a breathtakingly beautiful series of connected seats, sculpted from wood by designers whose work is in the V&A! There are other trendy seats in the garden, with blue and green swirly metal sides. (Lovelier than it sounds. I need to brush up on, or even acquire some, art review techniques.) And in keeping with the generally arty theme, one of the courtyards is… a sculpture courtyard! There is a large garden at the back, and wisely they haven’t demolished the handsome original summerhouse. (Not least because it’s part of the long garden wall.) The summerhouse must be one of the grandest settings for a ward ping-pong table I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately the wall isn’t high and there’s a railway line on the other side, so patients can’t use the garden without staff present. Creatively, and presumably inspired by Nigel and Lizzy in The Archers, they’re pondering having a ha-ha built.
Despite my Archers’ devotion, I had to ask what this is and, as you’ll know, it I a sort of posh ditch/moat, filled with plants. These could be prickly to deter people vaulting over the wall.
They should charge an entry fee to this marvellous art gallery which doubles as an acute ward. On either side of the nursing station there are windows looking across courtyards to the male ‘spoke’ and the female one. With post-modern humorous irony (I hope), the panes include a frosted one in subtle blue for the male direction and its stereotyped counter-part for the ladies. (Architects were the excellent Hunters.) Nicky explained that the ward was designed as an ‘organic’ concept. I nodded in wise and worldly way but didn’t have a clue what she meant. It’s the Ha-ha all over again.
Other features include:
Whatever the green benefits, it plays havoc with the feet of people who have poor circulation and other foot problems and can make nonafflicted staff’s feet ache when standing a lot of the day. (They should nick the sprung floor from the ballroom.) Staff are doing psycho-social intervention training (band 5s) for family and carers, in-patients and patients with dual diagnosis. They found it better to create more structured ways of providing PSI on individual rather than group interventions. Protected engagement time in afternoons is ideal opportunity for PSI work. They have previously taken part in Practice Development Units
Beechlydene ward is the most spectacularly stylish ward I’ve seen. But fortunately it’s got a lot of substance to the style, with some wonderfully innovative and excellent practices.
Not to mention a ha-ha.
All the best