In 2015 South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (SSSFT) reconfigured their inpatient services and all wards at The Redwoods Centre in Shrewsbury became mixed sex. At that time some concerns were raised and both Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) led a visit to The Redwoods. Healthwatch Shropshire took part in this visit. SSSFT have been monitoring the situation. Despite this a number of incidents and safeguarding concerns have continued to be raised. In response to this in July 2017 the CCGs asked Healthwatch Shropshire to work with Healthwatch Telford and Wrekin to complete an Enter and View visit to The Redwoods to speak to service users and staff about their experiences of a mixed sex ward. It was decided that we would visit Birch Ward, an adult acute ‘step-down’ ward, and Holly Ward, for older adults.
All the patients we spoke to were happy to be on Birch ward. They felt safe and supported by competent and experienced staff. They all liked the fact that the ward is mixed sex and that they are secure in their own rooms but it was recognised that there might be a possible stigma when males have to use rooms on the ‘female’ corridor for example, or vice versa. There was some concern about the availability of food and drink at night. The positioning of the therapeutic centre in another building did restrict patients’ access to it in some situations.