St Andrew's Questions and Answers

The questions and answers listed below will give you more information on things patients often like to know before coming to St Andrew’s.

Q. What can I have in my bedroom and will it be safe?

A: Before you arrive, we'll give you information about the things you can have in your bedroom, like money and items that are important to you. Staff will make a list of your own things and it is important that you look after them. At St Andrew’s we ask you not to bring things that cost a lot of money, but if you want to you need to keep them in a safe place. We can safely store personal items for you.

We also ask that you do not bring expensive or delicate clothes with you – if they get dirty they may need to be washed at high temperatures, which could spoil them. Please ask your care coordinator for more information about the things you can bring to your room.

Q. What am I not allowed to bring into St Andrew’s?

A: Each unit has a list of things you are not allowed to bring onto your unit and these are known as contraband items. These are things that break the law, like guns and knives, or aerosols (such as deodorant) and other items that may cause harm. You will be told which of your own things you are not allowed to bring to St Andrew's. 

Q: Can I smoke?

A: It's very important to take care of your physical wellbeing as well as your mental health. As part of that, St Andrew's has become smoke-free. There is no smoking anywhere within St Andrew's, at any of our sites, since 1 January 2017. Don't worry, though, there's a lot of support on offer to help you stop smoking.

Q: What do I do if I have questions about my medication?

A: Patients have rights to be involved in decisions about their medication. Ask to speak to someone from our pharmacy team. You may also find the information about medications on the Royal College of Psychiatrists website useful. 

Q: Can I use a telephone?

A: All of our units have private telephones to contact social workers, advocates and solicitors. Depending on your circumstances you may be able to make calls - we may need to supervise them in some cases.

Q: Can I receive and send letters?

A: Yes, you can receive and post letters while you're staying with us.

Q: Can I use computers and the internet?

A: If you want to use a computer or the internet please ask your nurse. There are computers for young people to use in St Andrew’s College and there are computers for adults to use in our patient libraries. Patients can use computers using the Patients Network (with the agreement of your clinical team). You may be also able to talk to your family and friends using our own Skype system.

Q: Are there translator and interpreter services available?

A: St Andrew’s offers a specialist translation service. For more information, please ask your care coordinator. We also have British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters who work with our deaf patients on a daily basis.

Q: How can I access my money?

A: St Andrew’s Finance Department will look after your money. The Finance team is happy to take phone queries on behalf of patients between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. If you would like to speak to the the Finance Department please ask your nurse manager to arrange this.

Q: How can I access suitable hairdresser or barber services?

A: St Andrew’s provides some hairdressing services on-site. If you need help beyond what we already offer, for example, for some Afro-Caribbean hairstyles, your unit can arrange for a hairdresser or barber to come to St Andrew’s to see you.

Q: Can I see a dentist or medical doctor/GP?

A: Yes, you can see a dentist or medical doctor for normal or emergency appointments. Please speak to your nurse manager if you would like to arrange an appointment.

Q: What if I am unhappy and want to make a complaint?

A: We welcome your comments about the care you receive. You can speak to your care coordinator or nurse manager if there is something you are concerned about. Or contact the advocacy service for independent support.

You can also call (including text relay calls) our complaints team on 01604 616829 or email

Many patients are using a website called Patient Opinion to share their experiences about St Andrew's. We read and respond to every post and many patient stories have led to improvements at St Andrew's.

Q: Will I have to share a bedroom?

A: No, all patients have their own bedroom and we make sure that other patients cannot come in, so that your bedroom is your own personal space.

There are lounges and places where you can meet other people on your unit in your free time. You will be able to watch TV, listen to music, read, use gym equipment and go outside to the gardens and courtyards.

There are '360 degree' tours of many units that will give you a real idea of what it's like - see the ward search page

Q: How do I access my notes or health records?

A: Under the terms of the Data Protection Act 1998 you have the right to request a copy of any part of your health record.

We have prepared a Subject Access Request application form to help you - you can download it from this page