Summary of report content
Healthwatch Wiltshire was asked by BaNES Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group to carry out an evaluation of experiences of people using the Bluebell Unit — a health-based Place of Safety in Devizes — during the Covid-19 pandemic. This is a place where people can be taken if they are in extreme mental distress and need to be detained for their own safety and that of others. They carried out 32 in-depth telephone interviews.
Most of those involved in the research were pleased to be asked for their views, and gave open, detailed accounts that strongly conveyed valuable insights into their experiences. Over half had asked for help prior to going to the Place of Safety and mentioned difficulties accessing the right support.
The experience of being detained and taken to the Place of Safety could be very traumatic for some people and they reported this had a lasting impact. Equally, some recalled the patience and kindness of police and ambulance workers.
Quality of care at the Place of safety was rated highly by most people. There were many positive comments about the approach of staff who worked there. Most people reported that they understood their mental health assessment and its outcomes, although not everyone agreed with these.
The participants identified some things that could be improved. These mostly concerned the physical environment and facilities there.
Most felt that, in the circumstances, being taken to the Place of Safety was the right course of action. Transport and onward transfer from the Place of Safety worked well for most. In a few cases where it had not worked well, people felt this presented potential risks.
The report makes nine recommendations which are based on the findings of the report.