hellingly hospital | east sussex asylum
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Hellingly Hospital

I originally thought this page was one of the missing parts of the Recommendations by the Visiting Committee. However, despite being included with the Recommendations, it does not fit into any of the gaps. Furthermore, the tone of the piece is slightly different as it’s written for a Committee’s consideration; perhaps it was written to implore the Visiting Committee to provide a separate acute hospital.

As it turned out, the advice in this document, and that of the Visiting Committee (who also argued for a separate acute hospital for admissions) was heeded and a separate building was constructed. This was known as Park House in later years.


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Taking a special interest in this matter, we beg to remind the Committee that such an institution was one of the recommendations made by the Visiting Committee for additions to the asylum at Haywards Heath, and was referred with all other cognate matters to the Special Asylum Committee. As stated before, most asylum managers nowadays put by separate wards for such cases, the main reasons undoubtedly being – first, that they should be kept immediately before the medical staff for special medical treatment at that period of time when good results are most likely to follow such treatment; and secondly, that they should be kept from mixing with chronic cases, so as to obviate possible harm arising from seeing the peculiarities and habits of the latter.

This being so, we cannot see why the same good ideas should not be logically extended from separation as to wards or blocks to complete separation as to the houses and administration and even sites. Various arguments against such separation have been used. It is said especially that the discipline of a large institution is a valuable moral agent; that quite as good results can be got from including patients in one asylum, as can be expected from having separate institutions; that the expense entailed is therefore unnecessary. No such argument seems to have sufficient weight in the face of the beginnings already made to secure separation. On the other hand, there appear to us to be the following advantages :- The institution will contain none but curable cases and will therefore be a place where the mental disease may always be considered to be in a moving state, requiring continuous effort; there should be no chance of a patient’s condition being lost sight of among a large mass simply because the symptoms may not enforce recognition; each case will always be kept in full view of the staff as one demanding special efforts. It will be possible to arrange such a building in a special manner to meet requirements, to arrange for special staff, hours, diet, exercise, treatment, &c., in a manner that might be inconvenient in a mixed institution. We conceive that it will conduce, on the part of patients’ friends, to earlier and more ready recourse to treatment if it understood that one who has any chance of recovery shall go to a mental hospital and not necessarily to the asylum itself in the first instance; and that when recovery does take place it will be most satisfactory to them as well as to the patient to feel that he or she has been treated as a patient in a hospital. These advantages must tend towards an improved recovery rate.

The expense will be more, certainly, but not greatly so, for already it is recognised that the treatment of recent cases is necessarily more costly than that of the great mass. But it is to be remembered that every extra recovery attained will go towards reducing the ultimate cost, since the failure of recovery and a consequent life-long detention is the equivalent to the immediate sinking of a considerable capital sum. We believe that when our scheme as ...

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