Charlie Dimmock and patients plant three trees to celebrate the upgrade of inpatient acute mental health wards at Parklands Hospital

26 November 2021

Patient and CD planting.jpgCharlie Dimmock and patients plant three trees to celebrate the upgrade of inpatient acute mental health wards at Parklands Hospital

On Tuesday 23 November 2021 Charlie Dimmock, Gardening Expert and Television Presenter, along with patients and staff members, planted three trees to celebrate the completion of a number of works to upgrade the inpatient acute mental health wards, at Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust’s, Parklands Hospital in Basingstoke.

As part of these works, all three inpatient mental health wards were renamed. Over 300 patients, staff and members of the public voted to help rename the wards, each named after a type of tree: Hazel Ward (formally Hawthorns 1) Juniper ward (formally Hawthorns 2 and Cherry Ward (Southern Health’s brand-new ward for females with acute mental health needs).

Charlie Dimmock helped to plant each tree and says,

“I am honoured to be here today to celebrate all the works completed at Parklands Hospital and to plant a Cherry Blossom, a Juniper and a Hazel tree, in the hospital garden, to mark each ward.  Nature can have such a positive impact on mental health, just being outside and seeing the seasons change can really help not only patients, but family members and staff too.

Planting trees is a great thing and we should all be doing more of it. As these trees grow their leaves will show all the seasons, we can already see their beautiful autumnal colours and next year we will start to see the beautiful spring flowers begin to blossom. The trees are also great for the wildlife.”

The works to Juniper Ward and Cherry Ward, cost over £2.6 million and are just two of many inpatient mental health wards that are being upgraded across Hampshire.

Works at Parkland’s Hospital have included building a brand new 18- bedded ward, now known as Cherry Ward, for females with acute mental health needs, so that more patients will not have to travel as far to receive the vital care they need.  The works also included a full refurbishment of Juniper Ward, an 18 bedded ward that provides care for males who have functional mental health needs. This ward also has 6 beds providing care for serving military personnel.

Over 173 patients with specialist mental health needs helped to refurbish and design both wards. They helped decide the look and feel of the therapeutic corner and design the patient lounge and staff areas. They also helped to choose the colours, decoration, and furniture to help make the new ward the best environment for the patients.

Beth Ford User Involvement Manager for Mental Health, Learning Disabilities and Specialities Services, Southern Heath NHS Foundation Trust says,

“The patients involved in helping to create Cherry Ward and refurbish Juniper Ward have just been amazing. They have chosen everything including, the lay out of the ward, the furniture, colours on the walls and the name. Their input has been so important, making sure that we have a great therapeutic environment that is tailored to our patients’ needs.”

The works also provide a better environment for staff to care for patients and they are delighted to return to the wards.

Jessamy Vincent, Ward Manager, Parklands Hospital, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust says

“The refurbishments are just amazing! We are delighted that patients can receive care closer to home and that they are now benefiting from the state-of-the-art facilities that will help improve their experience and care on the ward.

As staff, we are so happy that we are back caring for our patients on the ward, many of us think of it as coming home. It is so great to be back, and we now have this incredible therapeutic space to help give our patients the best care possible.”

The work is part of a national scheme that aims to eradicate dormitories across all mental health units and enhance the single sex provision, which will provide greater privacy for patients. 

Heather Mitchell, Director of Strategy & Infrastructure Transformation, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust says,

“One of the Trust’s key priorities is to ensure that everyone in our population needing a mental health bed has access to one and that these patients are cared for in the best environment possible.

The upgrade and the new ward at Parklands hospital will not only mean that patients can receive care closer to home, but they will also be cared for more therapeutic environment which will help patients develop the essential life skills needed to help aid recovery and promote independence. This improved environment will, also benefit staff, allowing them to continue to provide the best care for our patients”

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