I used to be a patient for many years on William Parsey Ward and Alfred Miller Ward (the acute wards), William James Ward, and the rehab ward of Lady Jane Grey Ward. Central Hospital had exceptional staff, and it was beautiful grounds too. I was also at Church Hill House in Leamington Spa. I knew Charley Craig as he was the charge nurse of Churchill House when I was a previous service user – I knew his wife Theresa Craig as she was a former staff nurse, one of my named nurses I previously had on the acute wards of Central Hospital.
Yes we had birthday and Christmas parties, and trips out in the Ford minibus to the Yew Tree House in Leamington Spa on a Friday evening, and then on Sunday we went in the minibus with Tom Gamble the activity coordinator, picking people up from their homes. We also went from our hospital to go to the Mulberry Day Centre in Stratford upon Avon.
A sad day
I was at Central Hospital till the very day it closed its doors for good – a very sad day, it was one of the best hospitals I was ever sent to, a real community feeling about the place. There were friendly nurses, porters and nursing assistants, in fact all the nurses that I knew were friendly & treated us former patients really well.
I know it’s now been turned into housing, it’s nice they didn’t knock it down and I know it was a listed building, beautiful grounds in the middle of the Warwickshire countryside.
We moved up to the new St Michael’s Hospital in Warwick. It was a much smaller brand new build with the same staff as we had in Central Hospital, but obviously not very big grounds. That’s what a lot of the former patients missed once Central Hospital shut its doors for good. We lost a good hospital, we gained a brand new one which was nice, but no grounds like we had back in the Central Hospital days – it’s that what a lot of former patients missed. I had some happy memories of Central Hospital, even though I spent years as an inpatient.
The two care houses down the front entrance and The NSF [National Schizophrenia Foundation] houses were also in the grounds, as was the chapel and the WRVS [Women’s Royal Voluntary Service] shop we had. They sold small cups of tea for 10 pence, coffee was 15 pence. They also sold rich tea biscuits, pop and crisps in those days, so very different to how it is now.
Central Hospital was one of best ones out there in my view.