Healthwatch Lewisham staff and Enter & View Authorised Representatives carried out a visit in February, 2023, to the Wharton Ward of the Ladywell Unit, based at University Hospital Lewisham. It provides services to women ages 18-65, with acute psychiatric illness. During the visit we talked to service users, staff, and management.
Some Interview Responses:
- Patients are seen by a psychiatrist as soon as possible on admission to the ward.
- Preference of staff members is available, specifically if a patient would rather be treated by one staff member over another.
- Visits are encouraged; however, not mandatory if a patient wishes to not involve their family.
- Kitchen is managed by ISS (a private company), but patients may also order in food.
- Meetings and ward rounds are built into the daily schedule, causing some activities to fit around them.
- Staff feel supported by their manager and encouraged to ‘learn by doing’ under supervision.
- Patient and staff interactions were seen to be supportive and caring, with staff engaging in activities with patients.
- Staff feel that by increasing the number of staff the services provided would improve.
- Due to the visit being outside of the typical visiting hours, we were unable to talk to the family and friends of the residents.
- Patients expressed concern for those who do not have regular visitors, possibly leading to increased loneliness and depression, specifically during visiting hours.
- Mixed reviews on medication, one concerned that she was overmedicated, while another states that the medication is helping with her psychosis.
- Lack of staffing may lead to patients not having support when needed or uneven distribution of support.
- While there are limited parking spaces available, public transport nearby include a variety of bus stops/routes, Ladywell train station is a five-minute walk, and bicycle racks at the hospital.
- Reception area and ward appeared to be clean and tidy.
- Patient rooms appear to be safe and decorated with contrasting colours as well as LED lights to simulate daylight
- Clinical room for medical checks and medication room allow for privacy and dignity among residents.
Some Suggested Recommendations:
- If undergoing redecoration or remodelling, engage with current staff, service users, and family/friends to give suggestions.
- Information on display should be refreshed periodically and ensure that patients and visitors can easily find material.
- Enhance staffing resources at peak times such as meals or visiting hours.
For a full detailed report and responses to recommendations, please use the download links below.