View Full Version : British Psych Wards (Trigger Warning)

05-11-2014, 03:19 AM
* * Trigger Warning! * *

Just to clarify, this post contains a discussion of attempted suicide. If reading about that sort of thing upsets you, please click away now!


The setting is London, no more than five or ten years ago. After her husband was killed by a drunk driver, this character cut her wrists and woke up in the hospital "with bandages up to her elbows." So, if a woman tries to commit suicide, would she be taken directly to a psychiatric hospital? Or are there special wards in the regular hospitals, like there are in the US?

Over here, the part of the hospital where they stick the psychiatric cases is generally called the "psych ward." Is there a different nickname for it in the UK?

If she's in a regular hospital, would she be transferred to a psych hospital once she's stabilized? If so, is there a good one in the Wandsworth/Roehampton area that I could refer to?

It's a minor scene, just a paragraph or two, where a friend of the MC is recounting the story of her attempted suicide. I just want to make sure I get the details right.

Mr Flibble
05-11-2014, 04:49 AM
Psych ward would be recognisable here

Usually each hospital does general stuff and specialises in something, they won;t have a ward for everything (except in major hospitals perhaps). Until a few years ago we had a psych ward speciality at the local hospital (thanks Blair for shutting that).

So I'd go to A&E in my local hospital, they would have kept me originally (because they had the docs/facilities), but now they'd send me over to he next nearest hospital that specialises

ETA The Priory -- famous for celeb rehab etc and psych stuff -- is in Roehampton. But I'm not sure if they take NHS cases

05-11-2014, 12:37 PM
Wandsworth/Roehampton comes under St George's Hospital area, so she might well end up at St Georges A&E. Queen Mary's Roehampton has only a minor injuries unit, though it does have an in-patient mental health unit, so she might end up there or at Springfield

Beds in psychiatric hospitals are at a real premium in the UK and someone who attempted suicide, but is not otherwise mentally ill might well not be sent to one.

05-11-2014, 01:50 PM
I work for a north-east London NHS trust - there's a specialised psychiatric hospital on our site, not affiliated with our trust, but our in-hospital mental health team often refer patients in need of psychiatric care there for outpatient care. In extreme cases, we do refer patients to be cared for as inpatients, but as Waylander says, beds are very limited so it's usually only very extreme cases that get referred.

Based on a similar case that happened recently (overdose, not cutting of wrists) what would usually happen is that the physical damage would be cared for in A&E or the MAU (Medical Assessment Unit - where patients are cared for before being allocated to a ward, or discharged) and, assuming the acute psychiatric crisis has resolved, they would then be referred to the mental health team for further counselling. After that, they'd be set up with an outpatients assessment at the psych hospital, but that could be weeks afterwards.

Unless the patient's mental state is altered for a prolonged period of time, and they're an active thread to themselves or others, we likely wouldn't involve the psychiatric hospital at all, except in their outpatient care once the patient is discharged.

05-11-2014, 06:36 PM
Great, thanks!