Care at Windmill House

Surrey and BordersThe Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust talk about the specialised, individualised support they offer

Windmill House is a specialist unit in Chertsey, Surrey, which provides 24-hour residential treatment and support to adults over 18 who want to become abstinent from drugs or alcohol.

As well as standard detoxification from single or multiple substances, we are expert in managing individuals with complex needs such as mental ill-health, eating disorders or self-harm, pregnancy and physical health problems, as well as learning disabilities and limited mobility.

The service is run by Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, the leading provider of health and social care services for people with mental ill-health and drug and alcohol problems in South East England.

1Windmill House at a glance

On an acute hospital site in a semi-rural location, adjacent to a district general hospital with A&E, the unit offers its clients a dedicated and experienced staff, with fully accessible facilities, suitable for people with limited mobility. Detoxification and therapeutic programmes are available, as well as 24-hour medical and nursing care.

Recovery planning is incorporated throughout each individual’s stay, including a full discharge plan agreed with the person and their community key worker, and access and links to statutory and non-statutory agencies are a part of the care provided.


Everyone who comes to Windmill House receives a full medical and physical examination upon admission. This takes into account their personal, medical and psychiatric history, as well as their history of substance misuse. It includes:

  • Routine blood tests and any other investigations required
  • An ECG
  • A chest x-ray
  • A mental health assessment
  • Testing and vaccination for blood-borne viruses where appropriate
  • Direct contact with the person’s GP to verify their prescribed medication and medical history

2Based on these results, our medical team devises a detoxification plan with the person, which starts as soon as possible and is individualised according to their specific needs.

Detoxification can last between seven and 28 days. Our medical staff review the individual’s plan on a daily basis, making regular observations and monitoring their vital signs throughout.

During detoxification, we encourage people to attend our preparatory groups. These help enhance people’s motivation to remain abstinent and help them acknowledge that they need to work on their recovery on a daily basis, either at Windmill House or in the community.

Our therapeutic programme groups are designed to give people intense support, refresh their life skills and provide opportunities to meet others and share their experiences.

Here we focus on developing coping skills and improving self-esteem. We provide recovery groups to encourage people to look forward and put plans in place to achieve their goals, and art therapy to allow them to communicate and understand difficult feelings in a safe environment.

Members of local Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) fellowships also visit, providing invaluable links to ongoing support in the community.

Our approach

Each person’s admission plays an important part in their journey towards recovery. While staying with us, our unique care planning helps people look at all aspects of their life – from basic essentials such as finances and accommodation to health needs, emotions and communication – and identifies key areas that they need to address as a priority. Regardless of how far people get with that process, we see the positives in their admission and offer as much help and support as we can.