chapter  II
18 Pages

Description of Units

The development of this local psychiatric service in Burnley has undoubtedly been of benefit in terms of earlier diagnosis and treatment, quicker return to work, and reduced economic hardship in respect of the patients and families concerned. There has been a definite improvement in the community's attitudes towards the mentally ill and an increasing tendency to use the services locally available. Initially the medical, social, and geographic circumstances were all in favour of some such development. The existing psychiatric service was minimal, social provision lagged behind the times, and the nearest large mental hospital was twenty-six miles away. Yet the speedy use of the new unit when established, the co-operative attitude of the general practitioners, the high reliability rate of their referrals in terms of psychiatric need, and the acceptance of the new unit as an integral part of the general hospital service suggest that this particular community was ready to accept the new concept. No pressures were exerted by the general hospital administration or by the medical or surgical colleagues to keep 'these patients' away nor was any serious objection advanced to the special requests made, in terms of upgrading the existing facilities and staff. Other medical specialities with equally pressing needs recognized the needs of the psychiatric patients and the former neglect from which they suffered.