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Going into hospital

Last updated Wednesday, 20th Feb 2013

Sometimes, going into hospital can be the best way to help you with your mental health. People’s experiences of hospital vary greatly. Some find it a great help to get away from the pressures of everyday life. They find staff and other patients supportive and benefit from the treatment provided. Others find the experience less satisfactory and are not happy with the way they are treated.

There are two main types of hospital care for people with mental health problems in Kent and Medway: acute admission wards and psychiatric intensive care units (PICUs). There is also the Trevor Gibbens unit which is a secure unit in Maidstone for offenders with mental health problems.

Before you are admitted to hospital, you will probably be seen by someone from a crisis resolution home treatment team.

Crisis resolution home treatment teams

If your mental health has worsened, you may be referred to a crisis resolution home treatment team for assessment. These teams work with GPs, community mental health teams, police, ambulance services, accident and emergency departments and others to help people who are experiencing a crisis with their mental health.

Someone from the team will assess your needs and may recommend hospital treatment. Teams work with people to look for alternatives to hospital treatment, providing treatment within the person’s home if possible. If it is felt someone would benefit from hospital care, they are involved in arranging for that person’s admission to hospital. They are also involved in supporting people’s discharge from hospital through the provision of treatment at home.

In Kent and Medway, this service is provided by the Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust. There are five teams operating across Eastern and Coastal Kent, Medway and West Kent. Teams are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

See crisis resolution home treatment teams.

Acute admission wards

Acute admission wards are usually the first place a person would be treated if receiving hospital care for the first time. People admitted to an acute admission ward generally stay for a short while where they are assessed and receive initial treatment or support. Many people are discharged after a few days or weeks, whereas some people may be transferred to a psychiatric intensive care unit for more treatment.

In Kent and Medway, acute hospital care is provided by the Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust (KMPT). Click on the ward’s name to be taken to the relevant part of the KMPT website.

Eastern and Coastal Kent

In Eastern and Coastal Kent, there are five wards. Edgehill, Newington and Scarburgh wards are part of the Arundel unit at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford. In Canterbury, Fern ward is part of St Martin’s Hospital. In Margate, Woodchurch ward is part of the Thanet Mental Health Unit.

Edge Hill ward / Newington ward / Scarburgh ward

Arundel UnitWilliam Harvey Hospital, Kennington Road, Willsborough, Ashford, Kent, TN24 0LZ

Edge Hill ward: Tel: 01233 616897 Fax: 01233 616810
Newington ward: Tel: 01233 651804 Fax: 01233 616754
Scarburgh ward: Tel: 01233 651805 Fax: 01233 616655

Fern Ward

St Martins HospitalLittlebourne Road, Canterbury, Kent, CT1 1TD

Tel: 01227 812168
Fax: 01227 812179

Woodchurch ward

Thanet Mental Health Unit164 Ramsgate Road, Margate, Kent, CT9 4BF

Tel: 01843 234405
Fax: 01843 230150


In Medway, there are three wards, all based at the Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham. Emerald ward is for men and women, Ruby ward is for women only and Sapphire ward supports people with high dependency needs.

Emerald ward, Ruby ward, Sapphire ward

A BlockMedway Maritime Hospital, Windmill Road, Gillingham, Kent, ME7 5NY

Emerald ward: Tel: 01634 833796
Ruby ward: Tel: 01634 833765
Sapphire ward: Tel: 01634 833768

West Kent

In West Kent, Dartford has Amber ward and Woodlands ward in Little Brook Hospital and Maidstone has Amherst ward and Brocklehurst ward at Priority House in Maidstone hospital.

Amber ward / Woodlands ward

Little Brook HospitalGreenacres, Bow Arrow Lane, Dartford, Kent, DA2 6PB

Amber ward: Tel: 01322 622491
Woodlands ward: Tel: 01322 622492

Amherst ward / Brocklehurst ward

Priority HouseHermitage Lane, Maidstone, Kent, ME16 9PH

Tel: 01622 725000
Fax: 01622 725390

Psychiatric intensive care units (PICUs)

People are admitted to a psychiatric intensive care unit for further treatment and support. Most people will have been transferred following assessment and initial treatment from an acute admission ward. Some people are admitted to a psychiatric intensive care unit from the community. This can happen if the person has been ‘sectioned’ (see ‘being sectioned’) or if they have been to hospital before and it has been agreed that they should be admitted directly to the unit if they need further treatment. It can also happen if the person is behaving in a way which appears harmful to themselves or others.

In Kent and Medway, psychiatric intensive care is provided by the Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust (KMPT) at Dudley Venables House at St Martin’s Hospital in Canterbury and the Willow Suite at Little Brook Hospital in Dartford.

Dudley Venables House

St Martin’s HospitalLittlebourne Road, Canterbury, Kent, CT1 1TD

Tel: 01227 812186
Fax: 01227 812184

Willow Suite

Little Brook HospitalGreenacres, Bow Arrow Lane, Dartford, Kent, DA2 6PB

Tel: 01322 622222 Ext: 3792

Being ‘sectioned’

When someone agrees to being admitted to hospital, they are often referred to as an ‘informal’ or ‘voluntary’ patient. This means that there are no legal restrictions placed on their movement and they are free to leave at any time.

However if an informal patient wishes to leave the hospital, staff can apply for legal processes to detain them. They can also apply what is known as a ‘holding power’ to prevent the person leaving while the legal processes are being undertaken. They may consider doing this if they were concerned for the safety of the person or the safety of others. A doctor can apply a holding power for up to 72 hours, during which time a decision can be made about whether to begin legal processes to detain the person. If a doctor is not available, a mental health nurse can exercise a holding power for up to six hours until a doctor is available.

‘Being sectioned’ is an unofficial, but commonly used, phrase which means a person is admitted to a mental health hospital or ward without having to give their consent. It is called ‘being sectioned’ because different sections of the Mental Health Act 1983 are applied during the legal process followed to admit the person to hospital.

The decision to ‘section’ someone has to be taken by three people. These are usually two doctors and an Approved Mental Health Practioner (AMHP). If both doctors agree that a person should be admitted into hospital care, the AMHP will then decide if a section application should be made.

If a person refuses to go in to hospital, the section order allows for physical interventions to be used. This can sometimes involve the police.

Mind’s guides on mental health legislation provide more information. The Mind guide on civil admission to hospital deals specifically with sectioning.

Rehabilitation services

Rehabilitation services are for people with severe mental health needs that are currently in hospital. Their role is to help people become more independent and get them prepared for living in the local community. The units where people stay are staffed 24 hours a day.

These services are provided by Kent and Medway NHS Social Care and Partnership Trust (KMPT). Details of where these services are located, can be found on the KMPT website.

Rehabilitation services in Ashford
Rehabilitation services in Dover
Rehabilitation services in Shepway
Rehabilitation services in Thanet
Rehabilitation services in Medway
Rehabilitation services in West Kent

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