A case for the ordinary: the patient experience of mental health care in Staffordshire, 1818-1960


  • Staffordshire County Council

Project summary

This innovative cataloguing project will make accessible case notes for 38,000 patients treated in Staffordshire's three county asylums from 1818 to 1960. Staffordshire saw pioneering approaches in mental healthcare but these records also provide an exceptional resource for studying the experience of ordinary English provincial patients at multiple sites when public asylums were in use.

Collaboration with academic partners at the concept stage has ensured that research needs are addressed, with emphasis on access to information in patient records from the 20th century. The resources produced will be an open catalogue of early case files and a database of extracted information from case files that are less than 100 years old, the latter available through a simple access process agreed with Staffordshire’s NHS trusts.

The method of cataloguing will permit a rolling programme of uploading newly open data to the catalogue. The ongoing involvement of our project advisory board will ensure that the resources have a wide academic reach. The breadth, completeness and representativeness of the Staffordshire collection will offer the opportunity to interrogate data from patient case records for specific themes over an unprecedentedly long period.