Living at St Andrew's

"I was at St Andrew's in Northampton, and I am now in St Andrew's in Birmingham. The care you get is second to none. It is good to have consistency across both hospitals."

A patient, St Andrew's Birmingham

St Andrew’s is a safe environment with friendly staff where patients can begin their recovery.




While you are here we look after your health and wellbeing and help you to develop yourself.

You are living at St Andrew's because of your mental health situation and also for your own safety and other people’s safety. You will be told about your rights as a patient when you first arrive here and during your stay. Patient handbooks are available to help you, and people important to you, understand about living at St Andrew’s. You can download handbooks about our different services from this page.



As part of the way we welcome patients to St Andrew’s other patients act as ‘buddies’, helping new people to settle into life here during the first few weeks of their stay.


Bedrooms and living space 

Patients have their own bedroom and we make sure that other patients cannot go into your room, this makes your bedroom 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. You can see a '360 degree tour' of a typical unit to get a real idea of what it is like.


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


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

Interior of a room Each unit will 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.


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

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. 


Can I smoke?

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, since 1 January 2017. There is a lot of support on offer to help you stop smoking. Read more.  


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

Patients have rights to be involved in decisions about their medication. Find out more about choice and medication.


Can I use a telephone?

All of our units have private telephones to contact social workers, advocates and solicitors. Depending on your circumstances we may need to supervise your phone calls.


Can I receive and send letters?

You can receive and post letters while you are in our care.


Can I use computers and the internet?

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 able to talk to friends, families, carers using our own Skype system.


Are there translator and interpreter services available?

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.


What is the food like?

You can choose from a selection of meals each day. Menus will show you which dishes are the healthy options, vegetarian or halal. We can provide special food if necessary, for example if you have problems swallowing. Our menus reflect our respect for people's cultural and religious needs and we use halal certified suppliers for the halal food served to our Muslim patients.


How can I access my money?

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.


How can I access suitable hairdresser or barber services ?

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.


Can I see a dentist or medical doctor/GP?

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.


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

You can speak to your care coordinator or nurse manager if there is something you are concerned about. You can also use our comments, complaints and compliments system to raise any concerns or contact the advocacy service or the safeguarding system.