General election comes to Newton Lodge

Date: 07 June 2017

Candidates standing in the 2017 general election have visited our forensics wards for hustings with our service users and staff.

Prospective MPs representing all of the parties standing in the local constituency took the opportunity to come to Newton Lodge, a mental health secure unit in Fieldhead in Wakefield, and campaign and meet our service users.

The hustings were attended by 26 people, who heard speeches from the prospective parliamentary candidates and then had a chance to ask questions. Questions were thought provoking and covered issues as diverse as mental health funding, taxes, the impact of Brexit, transport and the proposed HS2, and national security.

Service users in secure mental health settings often don’t have access to politicians and can feel left out of important national issues, like the general election. In addition only 14% of people in inpatient beds in mental health services across England are registered to vote.

This event gave service users the opportunity to hear about the policies being put forward by the politicians, and also gave them support in how to register to vote. The husting was finished off with a mock vote where service users were given the opportunity to try voting, in some cases for the first time.

Feedback from the service users and politicians was very positive. Service users said they appreciated being involved in the ‘real world’ and having the news brought into the hospital for them. One of the patients also said that he had never voted before and the event made him think about how politics affects the world we are in.

The prospective parliamentary candidates said they were pleased to have been invited and see the good work that goes on in Newton Lodge and Bretton. Many have asked to come back for a more thorough and detailed tour of Fieldhead to see what other services we provide.

The event was organised by social workers from Newton Lodge, working with the Yorkshire and Humber Involvement Network.