Issue 31

For the special 10th year Anniversary Issue we asked some members of staff who have seen the changes at Caswell to share some of their stories with us.  Here is ....

Then, Now and the Future

I first came to the Caswell Clinic in 1999. It was just for a day a week alongside my other job in research. At that time the Caswell Clinic was a small unit from the outside, stone brick, imposing and looking as if inside the walls a lot of stories had happened. At that time there were three wards; Coegnant, Wyndham and Ffalddu. My everlasting memories of these wards were that they were a maze of corridors and doors which led into further corridors and open spaces and closed spaces. It was easy to feel quite lost as to where you were. Upstairs was the office space which spilled over into the next building through a long winding corridor. Again with lots of doors coming off it which was mainly office space. I was given a very small office which was just wide enough to fit a desk and a filing cabinet in and for me to be able to sit behind the desk. At that time I remembered that there was a staff smoking room next to my office which would be unheard of these days.

Downstairs where we now have the street connecting the wards, in the old Caswell Clinic there was a small space about approximately four foot square where all the wards came off including the stairs to the offices.

I do remember the mounting excitement as the new build was agreed and, by then, I was working full time at the Caswell Clinic as a Specialist Registrar. I was able to see the plans that were laid out and came to see the breeze block layout of the building. It was very difficult at that point to see how it all fitted together. I remember an incredible amount of work and consultation going into the design of the building. The patients had a lot to say about what they wanted the new unit to look like and one of the most important things was about having space and natural light.

However the day finally came in July 2004 when we moved into the new unit. I remember looking around and being asked to choose my office space which I was absolutely thrilled about and picked an office just above a fountain so that when I opened my window there was the gentle relaxing sound of trickling water. I remember packing up some of my belongings and taking them over on a trolley feeling that my office had very much gone up market. After a few months I returned to the old unit and was quite shocked, as the scales fell off my eyes, to how shabby the old unit looked with the wallpaper peeling off, stained with years of fingerprints and the worn carpets, essentially not fit for purpose. I remember salvaging a huge laminated map of Wales which we all used to use as a reference point for planning our trips when we had meetings or assessments to do all over Wales. It now hangs in my office.

It is now 2014 and coming up to the 10 year anniversary of when we moved in and reflect on how much has actually changed in the way we do things. I like to think we are much more focused and streamlined in what we do so that we minimise the time that people need to stay in hospital. I also reflect that some things have stayed the same which is about the culture of the Caswell Clinic; that the care is about putting the individual first. I am not pretending that we get everything right all the time but looking to the future how important it is we have to keep moving reviewing what we do and how we do it. Listening to patients and what their experience is.

Only time will tell, but our commitment and focus on providing the best quality service to our patients—whatever the budget—will not change!