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Health-based Place of Safety suite improved for patients admitted under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act

IMG 3879 136 Team WEBSITE
Health-based Place of Safety suite improved for patients admitted under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act
12 January 2023

Our Health-Based Place of Safety (HBPoS) suite at Sevenacres has recently been redesigned and refurbished to ensure patients are provided with a safe and secure assessment environment.

This suite is used when the police service detains someone under a Section 136 of the Mental Health Act because they believe the person they are attending to may need immediate specialist care.

In redesigning this suite, we took into consideration feedback from staff, service users, their carers and families, along with improvements recommended in our Trust’s latest CQC Report.

This purpose-built facility will enable people to get timely care and assessment in a dignified and confidential environment. It can be accessed directly from the designated drop off point by other service providers including the police and has a spacious reception area where the person can be appropriately triaged to the right service to meet their needs.

Access to this dedicated place of safety is discrete from the adjoining general inpatient ward and seclusion facility to ensure there is no patient care disruption at any time.

To support patients to be as calm and comfortable as possible, in addition to the reception area, the suite incorporates a bedroom with an ensuite wet room, safe windows that allow natural air flow and a specialist enclosed unit for making hot and cold beverages. It has been fully decorated in a soothing palette of neutral tones including seascape wall artwork.

Nikki Turner, Director of Strategy, Partnerships and Digital, said:

"We are very pleased with the outcome of this redesigned suite which provides a vastly improved modern, therapeutic area for our most vulnerable patients.

“The larger reception room can safely accommodate all the professionals involved in an assessment which means the patient can be rapidly supported with dignity and get the tailored care and treatment that they need in a timely manner.”

Deborah Marshall, Matron Sevenacres, said:

“It is vital that patients, who are brought to hospital under Section 136, have a private and quiet environment for an efficient and reassuring assessment. Our dedicated inpatient ward teams provide around the clock care for these patients, who often have complex needs.

“They need skilled staff to help provide effective and compassionate care. We feel very positive about this new facility which lends itself to being able to provide the care our patients deserve.”

Karl Allen, Senior Project Manager at Solent NHS Estates and Facilities, said:

“We worked closely with clinical staff every step of the way, from re-designing the layout to the final fixtures and fittings. We also took service user feedback into account during the design process which was essential for us to respond to specific details for achieving an optimum solution. This engagement was key to the success of this transformation.

“We had to ensure every aspect of the design worked and could be operated and maintained safely. This included ensuring staff had good sightlines for observation while at the same time patients had privacy, dignity and their own private space not overlooked by others.

“The structure and fittings needed to be robust and tamper-proof but at the same time able to allow good access for maintenance staff to be able to fix and maintain services which might otherwise be buried in the building fabric – creating problems at a later date when access is needed.

“As well as functional improvement, we wanted to create a pleasant and calming environment, achieved through spatial change, light, materials and colour.

“Working within existing buildings is never without its challenges, but getting things right is hugely rewarding when you see the benefits the scheme brings to both staff and patients.”

Richard Ensor, service user, said:

“It’s really important that our views have been taken into consideration in this redesign. It is an amazing transformation of what was a previously a small and slightly darkish suite with a green and grey colour scheme, into a welcoming space with good lighting and soothing pastel shades.

“The room itself also looks very comfortable and the use of the buzzer system and door locks are all well thought out and the general atmosphere is peaceful, which should have an overall positive impact.”

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary’s lead for mental health, Peter Hunt said:

“The suite is an area of the hospital that patients can use for up to 24 hours if they have been admitted under the Section 136 framework. They may share the space with a number of professionals who will take care of & assess them. For this reason, it’s really important to have a dedicated space, that blends safety and security with comfort and privacy.

“It’s great to see that the ideas and views of so many have been taken into account in the upgrade and modernisation of this important part of the hospital that’s used by health professionals after patients have initially had contact with our officers”.

Photo (L to R): Service Lead, Tara Smith and MHLD Matron, Deborah Marshall, standing with Nikki Turner (Director of Strategy, Partnerships and Digital), Karl Allen (Senior Project Manager at Solent NHS Estates and Facilities) Service user, Richard Ensor and Kevin Walls (Architect Solent NHS Estates and Facilities) standing in the redesigned Place of Safety Suite reception area.


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