The Old “Rules” Of Meanwood Park Hospital.


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The Old “Rules” Of Meanwood Park Hospital.

The pages that follow present the old “rules” of Meanwood Park Hospital, Leeds.

These “rules” applied in the nineteen fifties and early sixties.

They are preserved as a typical example of the regulations which were applied in hospitals for mental handicap during that period of the twentieth century.

These “Rules” reflect an approach which can be compared with the attitudes of later decades.

During the 1950s and 60s Meanwood Park Hospital had approximately 800 mentally handicapped in patients, children and adults.


1. The necessity of constant watchfulness over patients is emphasised. This is particularly necessary where villas are understaffed and where patients are unable to protect themselves from injuries and where impulsive conduct, including unauthorised absence from the hospital is probable, the locking of doors to prevent access to unobserved areas within or outside the villas is necessary to the patient and demands a high standard of tactful guidance by the nurses.

2. No patient is to be allowed to go messages or errands outside the hospital
boundary unless provided with a pass obtainable from the office of the
Principal Nursing Officer.

Out of Bounds Areas and Ground Patrol

3. The kitchen premises are out of bounds to unaccompanied patients.

4. Female patients, including schoolchildren, other than those undergoing training
must not be taken to the industrial workshops.

5. Male patients must not go to the Laundry unless accompanied by a member of
the staff.

6. Male patients working in the laundry or in the grounds or elsewhere of the female section of the hospital must always be under supervision and accompanied by staff.

7. Ground parole for male patients does not extend to the female section of the hospital.

Ground parole for the female patients does not extend to the male section of the hospital.
Walking Parties

8. Nurses escorting patients, either in parties or individually, must take up such a
position in relation to the patients as will enable them to keep the patients
under supervision.

9. Patients in walking parties within the grounds must not be allowed to approach
closely to the boundary walls, and must be prevented from throwing stones or
behaving in any way likely to cause annoyance to local residents or passers-by.

Riding On Vehicles

10. Patients must not be allowed to ride on trucks or other mechanical vehicles, except in the cab, for fear of them falling and sustaining injury

Supervision of patients working on garden and other departments.

11. Staff in charge of garden, crafts departments, laundry, kitchens and engineering and domestic departments should report any misbehaviour by the patients to the Principal Nursing Officer. The collection and returning of patients from the various departments to and from the villas will be arranged by the Principal Nursing Officer.

12. Withdrawal of privileges from patients on account of misbehaviour is a matter for the medical staff. Cases of misbehaviour should be reported by nurses to the Ward Sister or Charge Nurse, who should take steps to bring it to the attention of the Medical Staff.

Patients’ Money and Property.

13. Members of the staff are forbidden to retain custody of patients’ money and
Property, which should be handed over at the earliest opportunity to the office of the Hospital Secretary.


14. Members of the staff are strictly forbidden to engage in any trading activity or
money transactions with or for patients.

15. The Hospital Management Committee will not accept responsibility for the loss of any money or valuables belonging to the patient or staff, unless it has been handed in for safe keeping to the Hospital Secretary.

Patients’ Correspondence:

16. All letters, either outgoing from patients or incoming to them, must go through the office of the Principal Nursing Officer. Members of the staff are forbidden to accept any for postage or delivery elsewhere.

17. Patients are allowed to write letters to relatives at reasonable intervals, and postage of one letter per month is paid by the hospital.

18. Patient’s letters addressed to:

(1) The Minister of Health

(2) Member of House of Commons

(3) Master, Deputy Master or any other officer of the Court of Protection

(4) Hospital Management Committee

(5) Any authority or person having power to discharge the patient under Part IV of the Act,

(6) At time when patient is entitled to make application to a Mental Health Review Tribunal,
Must be by law forwarded unopened.

Custody of Keys

Ordinary Keys

19. Members of staff must ensure that, during any spell on duty, all keys entrusted to him or her are secured to the person so that they cannot be mislaid. On cessation of the spell of duty all keys must be handed in for custody on the appropriate keyboard. All loss of keys will be the subject of disciplinary action by the Hospital Management Committee.

Medicine Cupboard Keys

20. Keys of the inner (dangerous drugs) section of the medicine cupboards must not be kept hanging within the cupboards but must be kept upon the person of a trained nurse or under lock and key elsewhere than in the medicine cupboards.

21. No Patient should be left alone in bath or ablution rooms at any time.

Tap Keys.

22. On no account must any patient be allowed to have possession of a hot water tap key. During bathing the hot water tap key should be secured to the nurse’s person by means of a lanyard, and should never be allowed to leave the possession of the nurse.

Bathing Rules.

23. The Bathing Rules, a copy of which must be posted in every bathroom must be strictly adhered to at all times.


24. All fireguards must be kept padlocked to the metal retaining brackets provided at all times when fires are being used, and no patient should have access to a lit fire which is unguarded. Any difficulty in locking or securing a fireguard should be reported immediately to the hospital engineer.

Cameras and Photographs.

25. Patients are not allowed to remain in possession of cameras, and any camera so found must be handed in to a senior nursing officer or returned to the donor.

26. Photographs of patients are not permitted to be taken without written permission and consent from the next of kin.

Reporting of Accidental Injuries.

27. All accidental injuries, however trivial, to patients, must be reported immediately in the casualty report book provided in each villa. In the case of an accidental injury occurring outside the villa, a full account of the circumstances should be communicated to the Ward Sister or Charge Nurse, if possible by an eye witness of the incident.

28. All accidental injuries, however trivial, to members of the staff, must be reported immediately in the casualty report book provided. This is essential in the interests of the staff, and to ensure compliance with Industrial Injuries Regulations.

Custody of Tools, Cutlery etc

29. Patients must not be allowed to retain custody of knives, tools or other instruments whereby they may gain access to premises or may do themselves injury. Members of the staff in charge of tools, cutlery etc must ensure that after use they are checked, counted and put under lock and key.

Male Staff and Contractor’s employees.

30. Male staff or contractors’ employees required to carry out work in or around any female villa or the Nurses’ home must report to the staff in charge for permission to enter.