Published date: 11 December 2023

Woking Community Hospital Welcomes New Green Space

In October, Woking Community Hospital officially opened a bespoke green space curated by NHS Property Services (NHSPS) and the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS).

As part of NHSPS’ social prescribing programme, the garden space was created outside the Bradley Unit. This section of the hospital is a neuro-rehabilitation unit that provides multidisciplinary assessments, advice, and rehabilitation services for adults who have acquired a brain injury or complex neurological illness.

Previously, the grounds were frequently maintained, but they were uninspiring; the last time the Bradley Unit garden space received investment was in 1950. Since the transformation, however, both patients and NHS staff now have a place to rest and recover in tranquil surroundings that’s permeated with flowers, greenery, and garden beds.

Such greenery can also promote faster patient recovery. A study conducted by The Kings Fund showed that patients who had a view of nature during their post-operative stays for gall bladder surgery, recovered quicker compared to those who were matched with pain killers and no garden view. Equally, the area will increase air quality around the centre and provide augmented biodiversity.

Laura Mills, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager for NHSPS, said: “NHSPS is committed to enabling excellent patient care and helping the NHS deliver its Long-Term Plan through our social prescribing programme.”

She continued: “Through this scheme, we have funded the transformation of more than 75 social prescribing sites across the country to provide a variety of community and wellbeing activities such as mental health services, support groups and community outdoor spaces.”

“For Woking specifically, the garden space is outside the Bradley Unit which is a stroke and head injury ward. Many of the patients spend quite a long time on the ward, so we wanted to create a space that could be used by patients and aid their recovery, as well as used by staff and visitors.”

Sue Wales, Head of Strategic Transformation at Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Trust, concluded: “I hope to see this space used every day, even through the winter. The Trust knows that being outdoors and connecting with nature has positive wellbeing impacts for staff, patients, carers, families and visitors.”

“Evidence shows gardens can influence on faster recovery with patients returning home quicker. Co-designing this space with the RHS in the Bradley Unit made such a difference by providing valuable expertise to enhance the environment and create a valuable area for all.”