Farmfield hospital nominated as finalist in national patient awards

Farmfield hospital, managed by the Priory Group, has been shortlisted for this year’s prestigious National Service User Awards. The judging panel selected its shortlist from a total of over 100 nominations.

The National Service User Awards recognise and celebrate the large number of service user-led initiatives in in-patient mental health services nationwide. The awards ceremony will be held on 11th March 2015 at Silverstone Racing Circuit’s Wing Hall.

Farmfield hospital in Charlwood, Surrey was nominated in the “Outstanding Service User Achievement Award” category for its virtual tour of the hospital for potential patients. Farmfield is a 52-bed, low and medium secure hospital specialising in treating male patients who have been detained under the Mental Health Act, and who will benefit from extended treatment and rehabilitation. It cares for patients with enduring mental illness, personality disorder and with mild learning disabilities.

Lucy Swatling, the hospital’s director, said: “The idea of the ‘virtual tour’ film came about from a service user wanting to make a documentary about the hospital, and after discussion he decided the documentary could give potential patients an idea of the service and the facilities.

“The services users directed the scenes for the film, and even created the music in the background. Some of the music was produced in the weekly service user-led group. The music they recorded was also submitted to the Koestler Awards and they received an award for it.”

Three patients directed the filming and within the filming itself, there were about 20 service users taking part. The film shows three different wards, the occupational therapy facilities and the general hospital and grounds.

“This film will be given to potential and new patients,” said Miss Swatling. “When the music produced for this film was submitted to the Koestler Awards and received an award, it inspired the service users to continue their music group.

“The service users enjoyed taking a leading role in directing, acting and filming. This will make a big difference to potential patients who will be able to see the service before coming to it and may allow them to make a more informed decision about their care. Hopefully it will also allow them to feel less anxious about coming to a new and unfamiliar service.”

A second Priory hospital has also reached the finals; another patient-led project was based at Priory’s Thornford Park Hospital in Thatcham, Berkshire. It was named as a finalist in the “Community, Social or Vocational Initiative” category.

The awards ceremony organisers said they were looking forward to “hosting an inspirational day that celebrates some of the many remarkable achievements and innovations led by service users in mental health services nationwide”.

Click to view a full list of the categories and finalists of the 2015 National Service User Awards.