Gosport hospital’s new Poppy Ward for older mental health patients declared officially open as ribbon cut by ‘honoured’ lord lieutenant of Hampshire and mayor

THE ribbon on a newly refurbished ward set to care for vulnerable older people at Gosport hospital was cut in a special ceremony.

Monday, 14th June 2021, 5:37 pm
Updated Wednesday, 23rd June 2021, 5:44 pm

‘Delighted’ staff at the Poppy Ward welcomed colleagues and guests to witness the opening of Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust’s newest ward.

Staff, governors, clinicians, and guests gathered in the new garden for the ceremony, where the ribbon was cut by the lord lieutenant of Hampshire and the mayor of Gosport

The Gosport War Memorial Hospital ward will care for older people with organic mental health illnesses such as dementia.

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Opening of the new Poppy Ward at Gosport War Memorial Hospital. Gosport Mayor Mark Hook and Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire Nigel Atkinson cut the ribbon to officially open the ward. Picture: Stuart Martin (220421-7042)
Opening of the new Poppy Ward at Gosport War Memorial Hospital. Gosport Mayor Mark Hook and Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire Nigel Atkinson cut the ribbon to officially open the ward. Picture: Stuart Martin (220421-7042)

Before cutting the ribbon, Nigel Atkinson, the lord lieutenant of Hampshire, thanked staff for their work throughout the pandemic.

He said: ‘The moment I walked in here, I thought “wow!” It’s so exciting.

‘I’m highly honoured to be able to open this ward with the mayor.’

Mark Hook, the mayor of Gosport, added: ‘I’m delighted to be able to help the lord lieutenant open the facilities today.’

Gosport Mayor Mark Hook and Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire Nigel Atkinson pictured in the activities room with Janet Woods, activities coordinator. They are using the Mobii Magic Table manufactured by OM Interactive. Picture: Stuart Martin (220421-7042)

The ward has been designed with the help of staff, patients and their carers and families, with extensive research informing the design to create a dementia-friendly space.

Marie Pawner, capital programme manager, said: ‘The whole ward is optimised for people with dementia.

‘The gardens have soft ground so if patients fall they won’t hurt themselves, it’s also been made in a circle design to allow people to wander and not get stuck or lost.’

The design of the ward makes use of bright colours to help service users identify different parts of rooms such as walls, floors and furniture.

Gosport Mayor Mark Hook and Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire Nigel Atkinson tour the new ward with modern matron Sharon Craddock. Picture: Stuart Martin (220421-7042)

Different colours have also been used to help create different atmospheres - orange walls in the dining room to encourage salivation, and green and blue bedrooms to help feelings of tranquillity.

John Perry is a patient representative who became involved in dementia support after losing two brothers-in-law to the illness.

He helped contribute to the design of the colour scheme on the ward.

John said: ‘It’s really something, beautiful.

Heather Mitchell, director of strategy and infrastructure transformation, at the ribbon cutting ceremony. Picture: Stuart Martin (220421-7042)

‘I’m over-the-moon, gobsmacked - never could have realised that this would all come together. It’s brilliant’.

Moving away from the dormitory format of previous dementia wards, Poppy Ward has 14 ensuite rooms, as well as an increased therapeutic space, a de-escalation room, and an activities room with activities designed to have a purpose for patients to enjoy.

There is even a ladies lounge for those female patients who would feel safer in their own space.

Sharon Craddock, modern matron, said: ‘This has been a huge achievement during Covid.

‘It is beyond what we expected.

‘This is a celebration at a time we needed a celebration.’

Gosport mayor Mark Hook. Picture: Stuart Martin (220421-7042)

Poppy Ward is the first of two mental health wards, at Gosport War Memorial Hospital, to benefit from the Governments £400 million national grant to remove dormitories in mental health settings and update wards, across the country, to the highest standards.

Suzanne Pepper, public governor of the trust, said: ‘It’s such an exciting project, it is the most inclusive team from the cleaners to the chief executive.

‘It’s astounding, fabulous - it has been a real team effort and it will be a huge benefit to Gosport.’

Heather Mitchell, director of strategy and infrastructure transformation, said: ‘I can remember when we were bidding for the funding, and I’m just delighted to be opening the ward today.

‘I’m really happy that it has all come together.’

Kate Smith, head of operations, added: ‘I cannot tell you how proud I am of every single one of our teams.

‘It will change the experience of our patients, carers, and staff.’

The refurbishment of Rose Ward, another mental health ward at Gosport War Memorial Hospital, will begin shortly.