Two of South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’s specialist mental health inpatient and assessment units at its Fieldhead site in Wakefield have received a reception revamp.
Clinical service manager Linda Clarke felt the old receptions at the Trust’s Trinity and Priory units were confusing and uninviting, so set about working to redevelop the areas to create a better impression for visitors.
Linda explained: “Previously, the receptions at Trinity and Priory looked uninviting and oppressive and didn’t give a very good impression of the units. When people were coming in, they were faced with panes of glass and wood and would be looking around for a member of staff.
“Visitors had commented that they weren’t sure where to go when they visited the units, so I wanted to do something about it.”
Linda secured funding for the redevelopment through the Trust’s minor capital bids stream, and worked closely with the capital projects team to ensure the receptions were warm, welcoming and supported the Trust’s visual identity.
The new receptions now boast a bright blue wall in the Trust’s brand colour, new furniture and storage cabinets, and smart desks in open and inviting areas.
The reception desks have been carefully designed to make sure the safety of staff isn’t compromised – they are tall and wide enough to prevent anyone from climbing or reaching over.
Shutters have also been installed to make it easier for visitors to identify when someone is available at the reception desk and maintain security when the receptions are closed.
Marion Seavers, receptionist at Priory unit, said: “The old reception was so enclosed that I had to have my chair really high to be able to see people, but now I can have it low – which is more comfortable for me – and still see who is coming into the building.
“People come in now and stand chatting to you for a few minutes because it’s so open and welcoming.”
Linda continued: “It speaks volumes that people now come in and pass time talking to our receptionists. Before, you would struggle to be able to see the person at the desk.”
The reception at Priory has an added bonus following feedback from staff and service users – a tuck shop selling bargain-price essentials and treats.
Linda said: “I asked people what they would like to see on the site and one of the most popular answers was a tuck shop. I thought this was a great idea, especially for service users who can’t leave the site, so now we have a small shop area in the new reception where we sell things like chocolate, cereal and laundry powder as cheaply as we possibly can.
“It’s been really beneficial for the service users who can’t leave the site as they can now purchase their own treats on site without having to arrange for leave or asking a member of staff to go for them. It’s also handy for staff who can’t get off site during their shift breaks but fancy a chocolate fix!”
Amanda Hemingway, receptionist at Trinity unit, added: “I think the new reception is a lot more welcoming and airy – it’s also a much nicer environment to work in. We can see people straight away and they can see us. It’s much easier for us to provide the best service possible now that we are the first thing people see when they come into the unit.”