Albany Lodge is a modern psychiatric unit based in St Albans. Each patient has their own room, some ensuite. (I was there for a few days whilst my lithium medication was reviewed.) It replaced the in-patient care of Hill End Hospital that closed in the late 1990s. The site was previously an annexe to St Albans General Hospital, and was also the location of Mentmore Ward which I believe may now be, or was previously, the home of patient records. Albany Lodge also houses the electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) machine, which is rumoured to be under consideration for transfer to Stevenage.
A copy-cat building to Albany Lodge exists at Slippers Hill in Hemel Hempstead. It was originally intended to be a psychiatric in-patient unit also, but there were vociferous objections from local residents who loudly exclaimed: “NIMBY!”. Consequently the unit is used as a Community Mental Health Centre for Hemel Hempstead, and outpatients now have the bizarre experience of visiting their psychiatrist, who has an ensuite attached to his office! 🙂
Whilst on the subject of psychiatric care in St Albans, it is not well known that there were three psychiatric wards in St Albans City Hospital. As far as I know, they are all closed now. There was St Julian’s ward for in-patient care and two secure units – Abbey View and Deacon. These three wards were discreet, and apart from staff and patients, not many people were aware of them. I was a patient on St Julian’s ward for a few days. Patients on the secure wards were sometimes permitted to walk outside for fifteen minutes a day, when escorted by a member of staff, but many patients complained that often no member of staff was available.
It may be of interest to know that the upstairs of Mentmore Ward on the site of Albany Lodge, as mentioned above, was used as the Hill End Day hospital. I used the Day hospital as a stepping stone from being an in-patient at Hill End, to independent full-time employment. It featured many activities such as board games, art therapy, yoga, relaxation and conversation. Whilst there, I organised a trip to Tring museum. The National Health Service Day Centre in St Albans eventually replaced the Hill End Day hospital.
I am most grateful for the psychiatric care I have received from the NHS during the past 24 years. I might grumble a bit from time to time, but I know where I am well off. The past was grim, but with the developments of the 21st Century there are bright prospects for many psychiatric patients. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the people, both professionals and volunteers, who encouraged me to take advantage of the treatments offered, that have enhanced my generally good health.