LOOK INSIDE: Mental health patients to move to Clinique Pinel next week

Mental health patients at Orchard House will be moved to the long overdue newly-developed Clinique Pinel next week.

The in-patient facility has been completely modernised and is ready to open, two years later than planned.

Work started in 2020 but has been beset by delays, including the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Andy Weir, Director of Mental Health and Adult Social Care, has been explaining to Channel 103 why it has taken so long:

"There were some changes to the design, then I think there were issues around access to the labour that was needed to do the work.

"We have been managing this process with patients in the building all the way through, so that has slowed things up as well.  I think that wasn't properly thought-through at the beginning - how it was going to impact on some of the work.

"Then, latterly, we've had some issues with the fire doors and anti-ligature kit to make sure the environment was safe, but at last we are here and very much looking forward to moving in."

 Andy Weir, Director of Mental Health and Adult Social Care

The replacement of Orchard House was brought to the fore five years ago, when a review of services in March 2019 said the buildings that housed mental health services were 'completely unacceptable'.

Months later, the States Assembly heard desperate pleas for investment, with the facility described as being 'worse than prison' and a 'disgrace to humanity'.

Some money was spent on improving Orchard House in the short-term, but it has remained the island's in-patient mental health unit and is currently at capacity with 15 patients who will move into the newly-named Orchard Ward of Clinique Pinel on Thursday 27 June.

£8.2 million was budgeted for all the improvement wards.  The government says the final estimated cost is £10.7 million.

Mr Weir says the new setting is a much better environment.

"This is much brighter, it's lighter, and it feels much more therapeutic than Orchard House.

"We particularly have focused on how we use space, and being able to provide segregated areas for younger people, for women, for people with intensive care needs and I think that means we will be able to look after people more safely, in a way that makes them feel safer."

All the bedrooms on Orchard Ward are en-suite and much larger than the old ones.  There are two courtyards, one for exercise and another that will be used for gardening and growing.

There is a family room where patients can see their loved ones, an art room for art therapy and a kitchen where occupational therapists will encourage patients to bake and learn cooking skills.  There is also an activity room for yoga, games and puzzles.

Although only providing one extra ward bedroom compared to Orchard House, the layout and corridors have been designed so that the space can be used flexibly and additional spaces can be assigned as necessary. 

Lounges can be made single-sex only, and if children are admitted they can be separated from adult patients. Over 65s are treated separately on Cedar Ward on the first floor.

There is a psychiatric intensive care unit for patients in the most acute phase of serious mental illness and a seclusion room with an observation area, which Mr Weir says is used only a handful of times a year as a short-term measure if a patient is violent.

Another addition, which is common in the UK but which Jersey has not had until now, is what is called an 'Article 36 suite'.  It is where police can take a person they have detained for a mental health assessment, instead of the Emergency department.

There is also a Tribunal Suite within the building, where the courts can hear legal cases around a patient's mental health capacity without them needing to be taken out of the treatment centre.

 Patricia Winchester, independent mental health advocate

Independent mental health advocate Patricia Winchester, who represents patients, says the refurbishment is a 'fantastic improvement':

"It is not perfect, because it wasn't purpose-built, but it has been so thoroughly renovated that it's going to provide much more space and light and dignity and privacy for patients.

"We have a very good Article 36 suite. Much better than being taken to A&E in the General Hospital where everybody can see them being brought through, sometimes in handcuffs which is very demeaning, so having that facility on the occasions that it is needed is going to make a very big difference to how patients feel."

"At the moment Orchard House is under enormous pressure. It is very, very busy. But the amount of space here gives us much more flexibility, so it will be a significant step up."

 

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