Philosophy of The Big Society

David Cameron gets to be God!

Thursday, 20 November 2008

La La La - I am not listening (ling a long a vent your spleen)

That is how I feel about MH services. Why? Because I feel they have spent most of my time, when it is with them, pretty much ignoring me.

My poor support worker was on the sharp end of this yesterday. Wrong day, wrong everything!

Having gone with Dad, to get his blood tests done, and come home was totally drained. Felt like I had flu...was that bad. I could hardly move and I got so despondant that when support worker arrived, I was at end of tether.

She was patient enough, as I raved about how shit everything is and how the last people I want to see right now are the care co-ordinator or the shrinky dink (as Pebbles calls them - I like that term so will use it as and when). I was quite rude actually and said if I saw my care co-ordinator now I would be telling them where to shove their anxiety management leaflets and checklists!!! But the level of crass stupidity used by so called professionals does my head in (even more than it is).

I have done 2 anxiety management courses in the past (one in acute care and one at a local day centre). I spent years, as part of my job, trying to help people problem solve as part of their jobs. Is not so much a case of teaching granny to suck eggs but more a case of "Here we go again on the one size fits all" bandwagon. I am not somebody getting ill for the first time. I am not some dumb fuck who hasn't a clue why stress affects me or how.

What I am is the dumb fuck trying to remind services that they should be running services for patients, as the individuals they are, rather than services being run to suit themselves!!!! Which is the case, most of the time. Services justifying their existance by producing lots of bits of paper and people feeling sanctimonious and precious they are doing really great things. Err, NO!

I feel like having a t-shirt printed with "You suck and you know you do" on it and wearing it to all my 'formal' appointments with MH services. Subtlety, was never my strong point.

Maybe I will feel less venomous later. I don't think so though. I am discinclined, in spite of my support worker's view that I need to be pro-active in talking to care co-ordinator in order to contingency plan in case I hit a nasty trough. Winter is my worst time and, historically, it has been when I have needed acute care but I don't think I should be the one having to chase up anyone anymore (doing their jobs for them). Although it is what I have had to do time and time again to get any support from services and the thought of explaining this to care co-ordinator to then be handed a list of emergency numbers or more leaflets is beyond the pale.

Am too tired and too disillusioned to be arsed.

We also discussed the patient's forum set up by the Community Mental Health Team. I wouldn't be able to get to the meetings because they are held about 10miles away -but my experience of forums is that they are tokenistic. Most of the decisions made by services are made before the forums are involved. Case in point the closing of the local respite care centre. One consultation meeting was held (in the middle of the staff relocation programme) the local (coughs) representative group turned up but the meeting wasn't widely advertised. I don't think it was advertised at all.

When I contacted the CEO of the Trust to ask what was happening in regards to the centre I was informed it was being modernised. That was over a year ago.

Possibly interesting point...the respite centre buidlings are still there, empty. Not being used for anything. Quite what part of a modernisation programme that fits in with, is beyond me.

I wouldn't join a forum again.....I won't be party to political games where the outcomes have already been agreed in a senior management office. Fekk that for service user involvement.

And yep, aren't I the misery guts but so what? Those that think all in the garden of modernising the mentally is rosy should come and live like Dad and me.

The downwardly immobile!!!


  1. Yes, and after Paul Mullen the CEO of LBPT modernised respite care away right under your MP's nose without any meaningful healthcare, economic or political reason for doing so he embedded himself in another public money wasting useless bureaucracy supposedly bent on championing the rights of MH service users and carers dependent upon the services he'd just modernised away.

    If MH services cant be patient centred they should be abolished to allow something else to evolve .

    If you want an image to print out on a ' You're Fucking Useless and You Know You're Fucking Useless ' t shirt just holler. No, put it out to competition , make an issue of it that gets Fucking Useless MH Services and Service Professionals the attention they deserve.

    Lets have a collective effort to Modernise Away Fucking Useless MH Services Funding and their Equally Fucking Useless Shrink Dink and Workers Salaries.

  2. So similar to my experiences with the Trust.

    Letters and emails ignored.
    Promises not followed through.
    (I don't get given the helpline numbers though...)
    Am tempted to join you in the t-shirt idea...

  3. Hi Norm

    I went off and thought about what I had written here and whether it was too much and actually, it isn't and I stand by it all, still, and most probably until the day MH Services are properly reformed or put to pasture.

    Was relatively calm then, until the local council and rung up and another layer of incompetent bureaucracy was evident. They, supposedly, have been over paying me for something I wasn't getting.

    As in the tax credits and child benefit I got for Em, prior to her going to Uni ended last year. I knew that, I was the one that notified the tax office that Em was going to uni. I rang the local council offices to let them know. They have no record of this. Surprised..not!!!

    And supposedly because i am no longer claiming these credits for Em, I am no longer entitled to the child premium the local council has paid me (in a nominal rather than money in my hand way). As in there was no formal notification (on my annual review paperwork) that I was getting a child premium for anything.

    I have to now send them proof that Em is at uni and proof that I am still on incapacity benefit and DLA and then they will re-calculate. If they then reckon I am eligible to repay something, or other, I will actually wait till they take me to court because I can't repay what I didn't know I wasn't formally informed I was getting in the first place..and certainly I feel the error is in their systems rather than me.

    It is all utter cobblers deliberately aimed at people like us, who they think are sitting ducks that can be shot down any time it suits them and their systems.

  4. Hi C

    I am still waiting for the feedback from the manager of the emergency duty team (following the meeting that took place...early October)and that I have formally requested since.

    If you get the card with the helpline numbers on, it will consist of:

    The Emergency Duty Team

    The Samaritans

    NHS Direct

    All about as useful as an umbrella in a gale force wind!

  5. Not sure I can add anything beneficial here, cos I am lucky to have not really had a shite experience with MH services.Just hoping you get the answers you want from the twats in the postion of power.

  6. Direct payments and individual budgets, if local authorities can be forced to follow through on central government's wishes will be the end of the MH and social care services as we know it.

    It's privatization by the back-door, but we will be able to take our business to whoever will provide a decent service.

  7. Hi Sis

    Am glad that you, and there must be others out there too, get a decent service.

    On a lighter note, I finished making all my personal crimbo cards today. Was something more therapeutic than having to wonder at how the circles keep decreasing around me.


  8. Hi Socrates,

    If only!

    As in Direct and Individual Payments become a reality rather than another several layers of bureaucratic farce to participate and then get lost in.

    Would be good though and I would pay for Support Worker's time and respite care and also things like complimentary therapies that work for me and maybe some very local floristy course.

  9. That was a good idea for the T-shirt.
    Not sure I would be much good at purchasing my own care - not sure what I want or need - DOH!

  10. Privatising of MH through the back door would be far better than being shafted up the back passage which is what the glorified job creation schemes of NHS Trusts are doing to service users at the moment.

    Lets see an end to useless executives, lazy managers and useless and lazy regular and lazy agency staff.

    Whats needed is a service user rating system where NHS MH Trusts where light is shone on useless services.

    My friend works for a taxi firm that picks up Mental Health Managers for the South London and Maudsley and Lewisham Social Services and ferries them between sites . He repeatedly has to tell them he wont bump up their receipts so they can claim more because his taxes pay their wages. He says this is an established practice . SLAM and Lewisham Social Services staff cannot be trusted to fill in travel voucher chits and I hope SLAM's CEO and Lewisham Executive Mayor Steve Bullock clamp down hard on these fraud and pay taxi firms directly to save any more puvblic money being wasted on this abuse.

    I will ask him to photograph offenders to out them next time.


  11. SR, our trust recently got an "Excellent" rating from the Healthcare Commission, despite serious failings in the provision of crisis and in-patient care.

    Furthermore, failings in the provision of copies of care-plans, advice about medication, and more remarkably - not even telling some people who their care-coordinators are, led to the director of services having to write to each and every patient.

    It's a sick joke on sick people.

    M., I've been waiting for nearly 6 months for Direct Payments to be arranged - haven't even had a letter about it yet.

    In the last year I've had at least 40 fits, and yet can't get referred to neurology....

    My care plan, appears to be classified "UK Eyes" only - They just won't give me a copy.

  12. Hi Steve

    Talk about staff frauding the system (re taxis).

    Pity they don't go the extra mile for us eh?

  13. Hi Socrates

    It doesn't surprise me that you are still waiting to hear about Direct Payments.

    I got a leaflet from the Trust informing me what Direct Payments were but when I asked my care co-ordinator about them she acted as if they were not relevant to me.

    Sorry that you have had so many fits. I can't understand why you haven't been referred to neurology yet. Particularly, as I got a referral quite quickly in regards to my migraines. Okay so they are bad but having fits is worse. I would consider referring you as a priority, if I was your GP.

    The system really is in utter chaos isn't it?

  14. We'll soon be able to name and shame one of the fraudulent MH workers in Lewisham as my mate said he picked up a woman from a day centre in Sydenham who was going to another centre in Lee. She argued with him over his refusal to add an extra 10 pounds to the fare, seemed to think it was one of the perks of the job.

    He alsp picks up patients on discharge and says they are literally dumped in the car with their stuff in black bin liners by staff.

    It's a pity someone doesnt film this uncaring and unseen face of Britain's MH system.

  15. just mentioned on another blog that it seems to be the season for complaining and discussing psychiatric diagnosis as I was just forced to make a complaint about Dr Martin Baggaley the medical director of my local NHS Trust writing to inform me that my paranoid personality disorder was untreatable and that for my benefit he had decided his trust was no longer able to offer me a service.

    I may well be paranoid but I think Dr Baggaley's decision and its timing have very little to do with my needs ( of which he claims to be 'mindful' ) or the laughable psuedo-science of psychiatric diagnostics and more to do with the fact that I have taken legal action against his employer ,the South London and Maudsley , which pays him to put its needs before patient health and welfare.

  16. D,

    You must really learn to trust service professionals, after all they are there to help you and I'm sure they agonised for a very long time over the decision on how best to help you and decided a non interventionist approach would be the most helpful in enabling you to most successfully deal with the problems you face in your life.

    You also state elsewhere that you experienced child abuse as a child but increasing evidence suggests that such admittedly unfortunate life events have less of an impact on childhood development than one might suppose and that they really offer no insight or help in to providing effective treatment, care and support for patients who can be helped so even looking at this area threatens to divert resources away from where they can really be put to good use.

  17. d,

    Googling Dr Martin Baggaley provides this background information , he's Director of Medicine at the South London and Maudsley and an Army shrink , which probably explains his authoritarian streak and why he expects patients to be frightened of or instantly defer to him. He's also likely to be a very repressed individual himself with little empathy and a limited range of emotional function.

    Interestingly the string of specialities listed in his bio include expertise in " Failure to recover/suspicion of malingering and a long term interest in Information Management and
    Technology. He was chair of the Computers in Psychiatry Special
    Interest Group of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. He currently
    sits on the Royal College of Psychiatrists IT working group and has
    been involved in the National Programme for IT for over 3 years.

    This is interesting as SLAM have done very little in the last decade to use information technology to interact with its patients and service users.

    In 2005 Dr Baggaley wrote a report called ' The Writing's on the Wall' explaining how LCD projectors would lead to the paperless ward round.
    Anyone who has ever been on the wards at SLAM or to one of its two inch thick bundle of paper minutes per person Board Meetings will at this point be rolling around the floor laughing .

  18. Wallace

    You really musn't learn things that are taught you that are wrong!! Actually, valid questioning of MH services is where it is at.

    Some people choose to remain blind to what is going on...and I mean choose to rather than it being a physical disability.