Television journalist and writer Alastair Stewart has thanked the staff at Basingstoke hospital for nursing his mental health when he was admitted there with a broken hip early this month.

The veteran journalist, in a tweet, shared how the staff nursed him when he told them that he “felt depressed and was suffering a profound loss of self-confidence”.

Mr Stewart wrote: “When I was admitted to Hampshire Hospitals Basingstoke [Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital] with a broken hip, I told the consultant & nursing staff I felt depressed & was suffering a profound loss of self-confidence.

“They nursed that, as well as replacing my hip. I am profoundly grateful & feel much better, on both fronts.”

He had to undergo an operation after breaking his hip on July 16 when he was knocked over by a horse.

He has been a familiar face of TV screens for more than 40 years starting his broadcasting career in Southampton before moving to national TV. Most recently has had been an anchor on the new channel GB News.

Mr Stewart was a panellist on BBC Radio 4's Any Questions? when it was broadcast from Christ Church in Winchester on June 25.

His tweet came after the Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HHFT) announced that it is expanding its mental health services, providing specialist support and care to patients with mental health needs across the trust’s hospitals through new expert roles, extended services and outreach programmes.  

Following on from the creation of the new role of lead nurse for mental health in 2020, the trust which runs three hospitals in Andover, Basingstoke and Winchester, has now put in place specialist mental health clinicians to work alongside patients on wards and is working to expand collaborative work with local mental health services and charities.  

Adam Smith who was appointed in the role as lead nurse for mental health said: “We are seeing an increased need for robust mental health services following the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has presented our communities over the last almost 18 months – and this is certainly not going away. Our priority is to provide the best possible care to our patients – this includes their physical recovery as well as their mental health needs.  

“We know that one in four adults and one in 10 children experience mental illness in the UK. When put into context with HHFT’s served population of approx. 600,000 people, this statistic is sobering. We are working in collaboration with partners across the Integrated Care System to provide the best possible care for everyone who needs us, including Mental Health Trusts Sussex Partnership and Southern Health NHS Foundation Trusts, South Central Ambulance Service, Hampshire County Council and Hampshire Police. 

“In a general acute hospital setting, patients may find themselves in situations that may feel stressful or scary and this may exacerbate mental health issues. It’s vital that we can support our patients in this aspect to ensure they are receiving the very best comprehensive care possible - whether it’s in our emergency departments, or on our wards.” 

To support this, the trust has appointed two specialist mental health practitioners – with two additional posts planned in August. These roles are for mental health professionals with extensive experience, who can support the lead nurse for mental health in the delivery of clinical support to ward teams across the hospitals.