Philosophy of The Big Society

David Cameron gets to be God!

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Word Verification

I have now got the word verification box comes up when posting comments on here.

Does anyone know how to disable that because I think it is a bloody nuisance?

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Darzi's Being Wheeled Out Again

Circa latest NICE Newsletter

NHS Evidence, first mentioned in Lord Darzi's Next Stage Review will go live on 30 April 2009. This new service will transform access to and understanding of high quality health and social care evidence.

Who the fekk does he think he is kidding?

For more bullshit go to:

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Being insider's take

Tried posting this as a comment on Abysmal Musing's site (and in response to Dave's blog post)but I haven't sussed how to get the word verification to load..or perhaps I am not patient enough it is was taking a long time.

Can I throw in the kitchen sink, Dave? As in think you have covered alot of ground in one post. Although am not totally lost, anymore than I was before I read the post :>)

Existentialism..I thought that was something to do with additions to the home. Ha! Not the brightest button in the tin when it comes to 'theories', me.

Do get the thing about 'being here' and clocking that it was not necessarily a good or evil act that bought me here (but sure it was with best intentions and quite a bit of basic human nature)...and ultimately what control we have is so little....particularly (and I speak as me rather than general) in regards to my illness. I am old enough to realise that it is what it is and I am what I am..and all I can do is tweak about a bit and generally be my own undoing.

I have heard some religious people who say that mental illness is the devil's work. There are times when it feels like hell. Quite a bit more so recently but I have a view that perhaps good and evil come from the same place rather than being in direct oppostion on higher levels than human existance. As in I don't see that there are 2 superpowers battling it out, somewhere out there, and using us as pawns. The only absolute I have in my life is that I will die. Which should make me more inclined to improve my health regime but I spend quite a bit of my time not wanting to be here. I am my own catch 22.

As with most humans...contradicitons abound in me. I don't know why that is either. Will leave that to theorists with the ability to focus and apply themselves to the task.

People are screwy, some are more screwy than others. Maybe the real tell tale sign is those that know they are screwy and apply damage limitation to others and those that don't know or don't care that they are screwy(reference point: Politicians and Financiers)


P.S. Wanted to stick up Robert Palmer's 'Woke Up Laughing' as song of the day but Youtube not obliging so went for this instead:

For Norm

Monday, 23 February 2009

Song of the day

For the record

Letter to PALS/Complaints Manager at Beds and Luton Partnership Trust

I have received a letter and notes of the meeting, from consultant. However, I am unable to send typed correspondence to consultant as I have no printer ink.

I have a couple of outstanding concerns which do not seem to have been understood at the meeting, nor identified.

Consultant hoped that I was re-assured by the letter and meeting and said I expressed satisfaction in regards to current input in my father’s care from CMHT. I would like to explain that I am satisfied that my father’s support worker is doing all she can and, when in contact with my father, his care co-ordinator does what they can but that I have outstanding worries in regards to the level of care that is being provided. I do understand that there are resourcing issues. However, those should not be the blockage for getting my father the right care for his needs.

I am totally dissatisfied with the diagnosis provided for my father which says he has a recurrent but moderate depressive illness. I dispute this because my father’s debilitation is severe and constant.

I am also concerned because my father seems quite deluded at times and has been treated for psychosis. Treatment which has not seemed to alleviate symptoms. I have discussed my concerns around diagnosis before but nothing has been resolved in fact considering his age and constant state of debilitation, I am not sure that the diagnosis fits his state, although I am no expert I can tell the difference between moderate and severe depression but I do not know what constitutes dementia and I believe from my regular contact with my father that he has been severely depressed, with underlying delusions, for over a year. My father disputes he has delusions as he believes the thoughts are real although when he told me he had received the letter from consultant, he told me he felt he was severely depressed. I wish my concerns to be forwarded, via this email, to consultant as it is important that my words are recorded and not ‘taken out of context’.

I am more wary rather than reassured by the review meeting because, although consultant confirmed that contact would be made with other organisations to try and get the right care for my father, they too expressed concerns that my father would not get that, on the grounds that he doesn’t meet criteria. I am unsure as to what criteria organisations work from but someone in a constant state of debilitation and anxiety must meet some criteria for additional care. For example, my father had not been eating for a few days, so my friend cooked him a meal and then took me out to get shopping for him. Neither of us are in a position to cook for him daily and I suffer with agoraphobia so can only go out shopping and ensure he is eating when accompanied.

I am in constant states of worry over my father. I rang The Emergency Duty Team on Saturday morning because I felt unsafe. However, I was in no position to get to Accident and Emergency and I am not sure that seeing a GP would resolve my state. It is,at least in part, reactive to my father’s illness and fear for him. The only relief I am getting from my stress is sedation and I am having to stay sedated all of the time I am awake.

Could you please ensure a copy of this email gets to consultant and is kept on record?

As I have sent a copy of this email to MP, I am happy for the letter and notes of the meeting consultant sent me to be forwarded to MP. However, I am not in a position to do that. I would also appreciate this email being forwarded to CEO, although I understand he does not correspond directly.


Saturday, 21 February 2009

Despairing at 4.00 am

I think it is happening again. I am losing it....although acutely aware that I am losing it (which doesn't make it any more tolerable). Insight is only helpful when you can put it to good use.

My body is breaking down. Have had this shoulder pain going on for a week and my stomach feels like it has got a brick in it. The chundling that is going on in my head seems to aggrevate the pain, the pain seems to aggrevate the chundling.

I woke up about 3ish in a state of panic. I have been here before but that doesn't make it any more easy to handle when you are in it.

Got desperate so rang The Emergency Duty Team...and I know I was clutching at straws but I didn't know what else to do. A very nice man told me to get to the local A&E. Which is not doable at present, and in my state. I explained this and he said to call out the duty doctor from my practise who could contact the Crisis Team. Maybe I am being defeatest...I feel pretty defeated but I don't have any faith that a locum doctor will understand....particularly as I am not sure anything can be done to help me.

Have taken half a lorazepam and most probably for the weekend will have to take more. I know lorazepam isn't the answer but I haven't got any others and am guessing if call the locum and they come out and refer me to the Crisis Team who then come out they will either say to take the lorazepam until I can see my psychiatrist or they will get me a place in an acute unit and I will be put on new medication, and left to get on with it.

Not sure I am particularly stressed about a new medication so much as the being left to get on with it. My experience of staff, in acute care, when trying new meds is that they treat me like a cretin and don't believe the side effects are happening. That I am making them up.

Such is the problem with being a relatively older loony. Been there, done it, got the negative reinforcement and now it's got really bad for me the choice is between the rock and the hard place.

I guess it boils down to trust. At present I don't trust myself to handle this...not that I am sure I have ever trusted myself to handle it but there have been long periods where, for want of a better term, I have been in remission. And worse, I don't trust services to handle this either. I wonder if they trust themselves.

Will take another half a lorazepam and hopefully that will get me through till day time. I might ring my friend, with a car, then and ask her to take me to A&E but again, I am not sure an acute unit is going to be a safe environment for me to be in.

I remember the first time I got so ill I had to go to hospital. although I was frightened, because I didn't know what to was, for me, a different experience being in the hospital then. It took me a while to get better there but I did (even taking the meds wasn't an issue for me) and everything about the place was good for me. Staff cared and bothered to talk to me, I got to walk about alot without feeling constantly penned in with my illness and I started eating and put weight back on. Not that weight has been a constant issue for me but when I get ill I lose weight quite dramatically.

I don't think I am going to ring the locum doctor. I can't stomach the feeling of being on a roundabout where nobody understands or can help and going round and round in myself whilst am given their reasons for not being provided care or being carted off to the acute unit. Although, if I have to go, at least the psychiatrist there is the one I trust. Hmmmm

Okay for now it will be another half a loz and hopefully back to bed for some sleep. In the meantime, and if things keep hitting panic mode...will have to ring the locum and go with the roundabout.

And if I make through the weekend (on varying doses of sedation) will then have to contemplate the GPs and get this shoulder seen to. The pain is constant and worrying. Then again I was born to worry. I think it is my destiny.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Magnetic Stimulation, another weapon in the battle against depression?

PHILADELPHIA (Ivanhoe Newswire) --

As many as 15 million Americans suffer from clinical depression. Medication and psychiatric therapy help many, but for one-quarter of patients, the decline continues. Now there's a new option for people struggling to emerge from depression.

Steve aspires to be the next great novelist. He's in the process of closing a very long chapter in his life: twenty years of severe depression. Steve tried psychiatry sessions and medications, but continued his fall into despair and darkness.

"For all practical purposes, I was asleep 18 to 20 hours a day," Steve told Ivanhoe.

For the past few months, he's been getting transcranial magnetic stimulation or TMS. It was recently cleared by the FDA for treating depression.

A machine delivers a series of quick pulses to a section of the scalp about the size of a quarter. Researchers say the stimulation reactivates parts of the brain that regulate mood.

"The beauty of it is we can do it noninvasively in the doctor's office without needing sedation, with the patient able to resume normal activities immediately" John O'Reardon, M.D., an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, told Ivanhoe.

In a study of more than 300 people with major depression, those who had TMS were twice as likely to go into remission or have a good response compared to those who didn't have the magnetic pulses. Doctors say possible side effects can include headaches and a low risk of seizures. Steve noticed a change in his mood after two weeks.

"I came back, and I came back I think far more suddenly than I left," Steve said.

Now he's looking forward to writing the next chapter in his life.

Five percent of patients in the TMS study stopped treatment because of side effects. That's three-times better than the discontinuation rate of standard medications.

Story and details of research available here:

Thursday, 19 February 2009

More Modernisation in Beds and Luton Partnership Trust

Have been informed that the team I am under has now merged with the team my father is under. Both teams' offices are about 10 miles away from each other and will be covered by 1 Consultant Psychiatrist and 1 Team Manager. Either these two professionals are going to be working twice as hard or more people (those that aren't already) will be falling through nets.

This is not progress, this is saving money in another desperate attempt to gain Foundation Status. Well, if that is what it takes to gain Foundation Status, it can't be worth having...not for the person who is waiting to get a service.

Sadly, for me, my trusted psychiatrist has been moved to acute care. He will be based full-time at the local shrinky unit. That, I think, will be better for in-mates but I am not keen to see the 'new' psychiatrist, particularly as he is the one who has been responsible for MH care provided (well, when he has made a decision and acted on it) for my father.

In this world, you fight for some progress and then a money motivated senior management bureaucrat comes along and is back to square one again.

Still, haven't had any response to my email and I think I would get good odds if I put a bet on that nothing will be forthcoming in regards to additional care for Dad.

Perhaps it is better to be a suck arse if you think being bezzie mates with MH Trusts gets you better care but that is not my way. I don't want to be friends with Trust staff, I want them to provide a decent service and if they can't or aren't the right people to do it then to refer on to the ones who can/are.

I remember going to a meeting with a Senior Trust Manager once (with my SU rep hat on) and he said he wanted the group I was in to act as critical friends. I said I thought that term was "weird". I didn't want to be a critical friend. I wanted to turn up and put service user views across. Simple as. Well in practise they didn't really want the truth.

and anyway is not like I am going to sit there and say "I really like you but your tie sucks". That is my view of a critical friend. HA!

The Brits

I missed quite a bit of last night's show because was round Dad's with Em and her fella, eating a rather delicious fish biryani.

I saw The Kings of Leon getting 2 awards. I like them, although the lead singer looks like a totally different person since the haircut.

The highlight of the live performances, for me, was The Ting Tings and Estelle together. Like last year with Rihanna (and she needs to do something about that thug of a boyfriend of hers) and The Klaxons. I like the way they mix things up.

The Pet Shop Boys ended the show (with their Lifetime Achievement Award) and a stonkin' set. I thought the lady singing with them might have been Lady Ga Ga (because I think the PSBs have been doing some work with her) but not sure on that one. Whatever, they were class.

Am still rooting, and waiting, for Depeche Mode to get their Lifetime Achievement Award. Maybe next year.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Whose Stigma Is It Anyway?

This is one person's view on Stigma (and where it comes from). I gather it was included in a newsletter ..apologies Margaret...not sure which one


I note that several mental health charities have launched a campaign, with strong backing and encouragement from the government, to combat discrimination against people like me who suffer mental health problems. While, on the face of it, this might seem an admirable project, it seems very largely targeted at employers, while I would argue that the worst offenders are, the government itself, many service providers and several of the charities who purport to speak on our behalf.

I would, further, charge the government with having greatly increased stigma by its long campaign to bring in a new mental health act which emphasised our dangerousness Fortunately, there was strong opposition to many of its proposals, and it has only succeeded in bringing in amendments to the 1983 act. However, these amendments include the imposition of Community Treatment Orders and a considerable widening of the definition of those who might become subject to compulsion, and this without any increase in funding or any research to confirm that the use of compulsion is, in most cases, anything other than deeply counterproductive. The Mental Capacity Act encourages everyone to make an ADVANCE DECISION stating how they wish to be treated should they lack capacity in the future but specifically states that your wishes can be overridden in the case of mental illness. On top of this, in its aggressive campaign to get people of benefits it has targeted those with mental health problems, completely ignoring the fact that many of us are deeply disabled by our illness and that compliance with the very medication that they wish to compel us to take can exacerbate the problem as it often has highly sedative effects. They have greatly added to the depression and severe anxiety which many suffer and they seem to have no conception that labelling people as malingerers and benefit scroungers not only has a very negative effect on their mental health but is not likely to make them a very attractive proposition to potential employers. I would hasten to add that nothing I have said above implies that there is not very real discrimination against us in the jobs market and many talented and able people who would benefit greatly from suitable employment.

It is also highly discriminatory of the government and the NHS to aim to offer a choice of 4 hospitals for their operations to people, while stubbornly refusing to offer us any choice of ward to us or even ensure that wards meet even basic minimum standards or that there are an adequate number of beds for those who desperately need a safe and supportive environment with lots of TLC at times of crisis. With all this emphasis on compulsory treatment, one might also suppose that medication and/or the latest talking treatment offer sure cures for our problems. This is very far from being the case, pills help some and not others and often have very unpleasant and even life-threatening side-effects and CBT helps some but not others, too. even in our madness we remain human beings and, as such, have very complex and individual needs even if we have the same diagnosis. I know that there are some excellent wards out there somewhere but not the one I was on. It was noisy, unsafe and the environment was deeply untherapeutic and too many are like it and worse – bog standard one size fits nobody. In this context, it is deeply galling to tead the comments of professor Appleby – the ‘mental health tsar’ who seems to regard his role as to defend the government through thick and thin and dismisses widespread reports of sexual and physical assault on wards in the most derogatory way.

Finally, I would like to add that I am hugely fortunate in that I have very good neighbours who know about my problems and understand my needs much better than those who ‘looked after’ me on the ward and I have every confidence that they would look after me properly and keep me safe should I become manic again but there is absolutely no prospect of my consenting to go into hospital on a voluntary basis. By contrast I know many sufferers face nothing but hostility or even the possibility of being attacked by their neighbours.

Margaret Jessop

I want that one! NOT!

Sadly, that wallpaper is not all in the MIND!!!

Nuff said.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Art for the sake of avoiding some rather tacky pooches

Was going to print a rather fetching picture of Paul Farmer (Chief Honcho and trend setter of Mind). Following on from his interview on a C4 programme (not dissimilar in core nature to what Pavlov did with his doggies) about mind alteration for post trauma victims.

Actually, I shall delve a bit further and say it was to do with trials which had taken place (actually giving me weird vibes about the Clockwork Orange effect) where people were given electric shocks to ensure they got trauma and phobias and were then treated with beta blockers to ease their troubled psyches. Personally, it all seems a bit macabre to me...and anyway one of the side effects of taking beta blockers is depression so not sure alls well that will end well but is progress of a sorts and might lead to something more substantial...or more fekked up minds than were there to start with but hey ho. It's research and it keeps people in jobs (or gives them something to do).

But the decor will have to in the decor Mr Farmer had placed himself in front of the interview for. Me thinks he was either on prozac when he bought that wall paper or was getting in touch with his feminine side. All will be revealed in the next blog posting (some time tomorrow).

Instead...I wanted to put up my cards because apart from the Carers' Valentine Disco on Saturday (which went pretty well and I got to shake my toosh a fair amount) the other highlight of my weekend was making cards.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Covering all angles..that seem appropriate to me

Following yesterday's review meeting, I have sent the following email to my MP. Is not that I am a doubting Thomas (MUCH) but very long in the tooth and I sense that 'other services' may not be keen to take on additional responsiblity for my father..either due to resourcing issues or bureaucratic ones.

For confidential reasons have not mentioned names..everything else is as was sent.

Dear MP

Thank you for your previous correspondence, in regards to your letter to the CEO . I can confirm that a review meeting took place with my father's consultant and other members of BLPT staff yesterday.

The outcomes of this meeting, as I view them, are that:

The WRVS have been contacted to provide one visit per week as a kind of befriending service.

Communications between my father's consultant, his team members, and members of the Older Age Services and Social Services will be taking place to see what additional support can be provided to my father. This is in order to provide care so that he is able to stay at home and hopefully become a more comfortable member of the local community.

The consultant also agreed that the Crisis Team be contacted to see if they could provide support whilst other care is being put into place.

At present, I am happy for these communications to take place and to see if the additional support is provided. However, there was some level of concern expressed by the consultant that other services may not wish to provide support to my father, or that my father may not meet appropriate criteria. My concern, in regards to this, is that it could mean my father will once again be left, mostly on his own, whilst his illness eats away at him.

I appreciate it may take a little time to get additional services in place but I do not want my father to be left for too long a period and I certainly don’t want it to end up that we are informed that no additional support is available. Particularly, as it is now a year since my father became seriously ill and I think he has waited long enough for more appropriate care.

I have explained that should father’s state deteriorate, then I believe the only option would be for him to go into residential care and I would seek your support and the support of MH services to ensure this is the case. It is, as I stated yesterday, a last resort but I think my father has suffered enough and if he is unable to sustain himself or be sustained (with additional care) within the community, he needs to be somewhere safe for the rest of his life.

If you don’t mind I would like to contact you at the end of a month period so we can review what has happened and what additional support, should it be forthcoming, has been put in place. I will be asking The PALS and Complaints Manager at BLPT to forward this email to the CEO as I don’t have his e:mail address and have no ink in my printer, so am unable to send it through the postal service.


Give It Some Welly - Uplifting Story of The Week

In the wee hours of this morning, heard a story, on local radio, about a woman who bought the old Woolworth's store she used to manage and has taken on the staff who used to work there.

The store was not only popular but made profits so she is hoping that by re-opening the store she will keep the custom of people who used to shop there (hopefully get some new custom too).

She is calling the store 'Wellworths' and wants it to be known as 'Wellies'.

The full story is available here:

Am not a Daily Mail fan but this story warrants a viewing.

Letter from BLPT Non Exec Board Directors

This arrived in my inbox.

Dear Member,

I am writing to inform you of the unanimous decision taken by me, as Trust
Chair, and my Non-Executive Board Directors, to stand down from the
leadership of the Trust (within six to nine months), in order to allow the
organisation to create a new partnership with an NHS Foundation Trust.

It has been an honour and privilege to serve the people of Bedfordshire
Luton by providing mental health and learning disabilities services. We,
a board, have always placed our communities and their service needs at the
heart of everything we do.

The departure of Paul Mullin as Chief Executive in late 2008 concentrated
our minds on what we needed to do to move to the next stage of development
that of attaining Foundation Trust status. However, we do not believe that
with the current structure and size of the organisation, there is any
prospect of the organisation attaining Foundation Trust status in its own
right within the timescale required.

Having seen the energy, skills and enthusiasm in the leadership of other
Mental Health Foundation Trusts, we have come to the conclusion that
a partnership with one of these holds the best prospect for delivering
modern mental health and learning disabilities services for our local
communities. We are confident that this approach will ensure that Trust
services continue to improve and meet the needs of local people.

We have asked NHS East of England, the Strategic Health Authority, in
conjunction with the Primary Care Trust - NHS Bedfordshire (who are
responsible for commissioning services from the Trust) to carry out a
process which will see established NHS Foundation Trusts put forward
proposals for the future management of our Trust.

We are determined to ensure the best possible outcome for our service
carers and staff and will continue as a board to oversee the handover to a
new Foundation Trust board.

We agreed as a board that it is critical for the shadow membership and
governors to continue to have a role in the new organisation as a means of
ensuring local involvement.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for all your support so
far and I hope you will continue to support our local mental health and
learning disabilities agenda during this transitional period, to help
a smooth handover to a new leadership team.

With best wishes,

Alison Davis

Trust Chair

NB. I am not a Trust Member and I don't intend to become one....because I feel that I need to remain independant in my dealings with the Trust and in regards to care I seek from them for my father and myself.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

British Market Research and The Justice System

British Market Research are carrying out research for the Ministry of Justice. We are keen to talk to people who live with mental health issues or learning disabilities and who have been involved as a WITNESS or VICTIM (but NOT as a DEFENDANT) in a criminal , civil or family court . We would like to talk to you about your experiences of the court system.

We would also like to talk to CARERS or SUPPORT Personnel who have been involved in the court system as well. The research can be carried out at your home or a support centre and will last about 50-60 minutes. We are giving a gift of £25 cash for taking part in the research as a thank you for your help. The research is taking place in and around London during the month of February 2009. If you would like to help us, please contact DAVE WILLIAMSON on 01753 541485 or 07887 656 723 for further information. THANK YOU

Charity - No Pain, No Gain

Something shrink wrote about, few blogs back, has really got me to thinking.

He wrote that charity hurts or that is what I picked up from the posting.

Maybe was just another reason for me to go on a mind fuck, or twist it in with my own twisted thoughts, but I don't see what I do for my Dad as charity but it does hurt. Well, actually it is the doing things that don't seem to alleviate any of his pain that hurts.

His latest posting in regards to a daughter's attitude to her mother's deteriating mental state also hit a spot. Not because I view my father as vile or evil (he isn't at all but that is his view of himself) but it is the impact of someone's illness on another that hit me.

You can't really understand that until you are in it. I don't think. For sure you can empathise by imagining yourself in that position and wondering how you will feel or react but, in my experience, how I have thought I would react is different to how I react. As in, I liked to imagine myself as being able to handle anything with stoic bravery and rallying on to the bitter end, with a stiff upper lip and a hug and the reality is I chop and change...sometimes I am pretty upbeat with Dad..whatever he says to me and try to reassure him that we will get through things, together.... however, his behaviour and illness takes him. Then another time I see him and I am desperately trying to hold myself together as he pours his pain out.

I don't think this is charity. Charity is something that is separate to family ties. To me it is an organisation, or person, doing something for someone they aren't that close to....They aren't, for want of a better word, obligated to.

By using the word obligated, it makes it sound like Dad is a chore. Now, crunch point sometimes it feels that way to me. Perhaps because he isn't the Dad I used to know, rely on, look up to. Perhaps because his illness has changed him so much and it is so difficult to face his demons (especially when I am not quite sure what they are) whilst facing my own. I don't know. It gets complicated for me but to know someone is so miserable, so lost in life, so destroyed it is bloody hard to keep trying to see the light and then show it to them.

Am veering off on tangent but getting back to the title.... The saying may well be that charity begins at home but it is much more than charity that is going on between Dad and me. It is a fight for his survival and in some ways mine too.

I don't think charity is painful because people can opt in and out. They can decide what/who warrants their charity, family relationships are different. Well they are to people who care about members of their family.

And not having a pop at Shrink for what he wrote. It made me have a re-think about my views and what charity means to me (or not as the case may be).

Monday, 9 February 2009

I have a Lily in my Garden

Whilst walkies round my insanity, I came across the new song by Lily Allen. I had never got her before (I thought she was a bit twee) but this is delightful as well as saying what I think alot of people are thinking right now.

Another song that has been going round me head is by X Ray Specs. A short lived but acutely astute punk band.

Moving swiftly through the 'Society Eats Itself' section of this posting. Another little gem form Specs (with a back handed homage to Woolies):

Aversion therapy (apart from sedation) also included watching 'The Devil Wears Prada', whilst making cards. Thought I would hate the film but it easy to watch and had some moral fibre to help digest all the pap.

Today I attempted to use an inhalator to curb my smoking. Lasted 3 hours before I wanted to pick my brain out with a knitting needle. Any self sacrifice for the greater health of myself has now been swiftly shafted back in the pending file (pending divine that ever happens, or brain transplant).

A review meeting has been organised for Dad, this Wednesday. Wish I could enthuse but I fear another round of my suggestions, Trust staff excuses and then it will be back to Bedlam for Dad and me.

As for my CMHT. I haven't heard from my care co-ordinator for 2 weeks. Since she went off sick and haven't spoken to my support worker for over a week. Snow played it's part but also that 'can't be arsed' attitude that is thriving in the NHS. I can no longer be arsed to give them the benefit of the doubt. Cue Meryl Streep, dressed as something from 'The Crucible', seeking to clean out the closet.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

The honour of empathy

This picture was painted by Luke Fildes. It depicts the night his son died. It was a Christmas Eve and Fildes was so touched by the dedication and compassion of the doctor who attended his son that when asked by Tate (of Tate Gallery fame) to do a commission (with a medical theme) this is what he produced.

I saw it on 'The One Show' the other night and even from within my benzo enduced numbness it touched me pretty deeply.

The picture, so the story goes, became 'iconic' for medical professionals who wanted to gain credibility and trust.

For me, it symbolises something human and essential (or should be) but that has been undermined and eroded by the corporations and their idea of what a 'modern' care organisation is all about..with particular importance in MH services.

All the antiseptics can say "Well the boy died and he would have survived today" and quite possibly he would have but that is not the point of this image. Not for me.

I have written too much already. The picture should speak for itself and people will read from it what they will.


I think I have gone past the point where I can control my lorazepam intake. Not that I am taking 10 a day, or dropping 3 or 4 at a time but I have, until now, prided myself on being able to stick within a daily limit.

I can no longer do that. Some of that could be due to tolerance (although the counter argument could be that I spent nearly all of last year taking less than and up to 1.5 mg per day) but, I think, it is really down to the fact that I am breaking down.

It is something I know from past experience. Waking up hyperventilating...constant chundling that leads to more chundling, flapping about everything and nothing and ultimately seeing little or no point to my existance and then fighting that.

People can be pushed too far but that doesn't stop them being pushed even more. I feel that local MH services are neglecting my father (cruelly so) and the torment he suffers and torment I can't contain in myself ....we have nowhere to go with this but down and out.

I have much..if not to be able to stay on top of things to at least be able to co exist with them. It is impossible. I just can't do that and the only way to be able to deal with the now is to sedate it.

If I had any belief..the tiniest bit...that MH services would provide a better level of care (more appropriate) for my father then I think I would have a more positive outlook...some faith that I could get through this and heal a bit myself.

I am a fighter. I don't give up at the first hurdle but I am not a marathon runner either and am really at a loss. I think Trust staff would be relieved if I killed myself. It would get me off their backs and they could leave Dad to rot without anyone questioning why.

Had thought about going back to GP to ask about another medication that might work with lorazepam to keep me on a more even keel but the whole issue of what is the right medication for my illness and possible trial on another anti-psychotic prevent me taking that step.

It isn't all about medication. Often it is about the right kind of support being in place and accessable.

Off for another round of walkies round the crazy maze of a garden (not like a teddy bear and without the tickles)

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Call for new laws to protect the elderly

"Next week the Government is expected to publish plans to improve the care of people suffering from dementia, which will be followed by guidance clamping down on the use of dangerous antipsychotic drugs to sedate patients with conditions like Alzheimer's disease.

The medication, which could increase the risk of premature death, is prescribed to control agitation, delusions, sleep disturbance and aggression, but is not licensed to treat Alzheimer's."

Call for new laws to protect elderly from abuse
Charities are calling for new laws to protect the elderly as a study shows that more than 300,000 cases of abuse go undetected each year.

By Laura Donnelly, Health Correspondent
Last Updated: 4:46PM GMT 31 Jan 2009

More than 50 charities, backed by England's social care watchdog, are urging the Government to put abuse of the elderly on the same legal footing as child abuse, with the NHS, councils and the police obliged to investigate any threat reported.

The submission to ministers comes ahead of a major study which will say next week that more than 90 per cent of elderly people who suffer abuse go unnoticed by social services.

The report, by the charity Action on Elder Abuse, will estimate that more than 300,000 elderly people suffer mistreatment at the hands of carers, nurses, or relatives each year, without authorities ever stepping in.

Even this number is likely to be an underestimate, as it excludes people with dementia and those in residential homes.

The moves come as families across the country are struggling to find care home places for elderly relatives due to the recession increasing pressures on the social care system.

Councils facing a financial squeeze as a consequence of the downturn are restricting funded places to those with the most desperate needs, while those paying for their own care are finding it increasingly unaffordable, according to Dame Denise Platt, chairman of the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI), England's social care watchdog.

She said she fears councils may further reduce the number of places they fund when they set their new budgets for April.

At the same time, owners of private care homes are facing rising bills, and may face a choice between putting up their prices or going bust.

Cases of abuse of the elderly uncovered by inspectors include care homes where residents were routinely tied to their beds and chairs, locked up or dragged around by their hair.

Other residents, many of whom had dementia, have been refused food and denied trips to the lavatory in punishment for "bad behaviour".

Investigations have revealed a woman of 85 who had her fingernails ripped off by a care worker, a 78-year-old covered in cigarette burns, and a number of thefts of pensions by care staff paid to look after the elderly.

Government research suggests that 340,000 pensioners suffer some form of physical, financial or emotional abuse each year.

Action on Elder Abuse investigated local authority records and found that fewer than a tenth of that number of cases are ever investigated by social services.

The charity, together with the Alzheimer's Society, Age Concern, Mencap, and the Commission for Social Care Inspection, is calling for laws to be introduced which would place a duty on all agencies which work with vulnerable adults to log and investigate reports of abuse – either in residential care or in family homes – and to share information with other agencies.

Currently, different bodies set their own rules about how to protect the frail elderly, and disabled, from harm.

The charities made the plea as part of submissions to a Government consultation on the protection of vulnerable adults, which closed yesterday.

Gary Fitzgerald, chief executive of Action on Elder Abuse, said: "We are simply not doing enough to protect old people facing abuse, and we are challenging the Government to listen and to introduce safeguards that make this a priority."

Neil Hunt of the Alzheimer's Society added: "We need to fight any abuse of people with dementia and that means putting systems in place early to avoid putting them at risk."

In July, a care worker was found guilty of abusing five elderly residents of Manor Care Home in Ilkeston, Derbyshire.

Nina Strange, 48, of Heanor, Derbyshire, was sentenced to 200 hours community work after a court heard how she hit an 88-year-old wheelchair-bound woman across the back of the head, twice hit an 81-year-old man on the head and pulled the hair of an 81-year-old woman as she put her to bed.

Next week the Government is expected to publish plans to improve the care of people suffering from dementia, which will be followed by guidance clamping down on the use of dangerous antipsychotic drugs to sedate patients with conditions like Alzheimer's disease.

The medication, which could increase the risk of premature death, is prescribed to control agitation, delusions, sleep disturbance and aggression, but is not licensed to treat Alzheimer's.

A parliamentary investigation has already warned that too many care-home staff are using the drugs to control the behaviour of difficult patients with dementia.

Latest figures from the CSCI show that despite a rapidly-ageing population, the number of pensioners receiving council-funded home help has fallen by 40,000 in four years, while growth in the number of people given residential care slowed.

Almost 72 per cent of councils will already only fund care for people whose needs are assessed as "substantial", a rise from 53 per cent in two years, CSCI said.

Dame Denise said services for the most vulnerable must not be targeted for further cuts.

She said: "Many councils facing an increase in the number of older and disabled people and in the costs of care have responded by raising the threshold people have to pass before they are entitled to council help. Increasingly, people are having to pay for their own care, or relay on help from relatives, friends, neighbours or voluntary organisations.

"The current economic downturn must not deflect us from the continuing need to provide vital care services to growing numbers of disabled and older people."

The Department of Health is preparing a green paper which will examine how to fund a £6 billion funding gap predicted in care of the elderly within two decades.

Phil Hope, the social care minister, said changes to the system should ensure more practical help and support for those who did not get their care funded by the state, under a "universal assessment" entitlement for all.

He said: "One of the things I feel very strongly about is that everybody, whether they are self-funding or not, should have their needs properly assessed and be given some advice and information about how those needs will be met.

"No-one should be turned away."

What makes for a modern MH Service?

Having read latest blog posting from Mad Dentist, who has been given an 'emergency' appointment to see his shrink in 3 months time, am thinking of a list of what makes for a modern service.

Following my own thread and experience on this, number one on my list is attending several meetings with zilch outcomes.

Another must have is being pushed from pillar to post when trying to get answers to questions (or a service for that matter).

Sure those who don't think the sun shines out of the arses of MH services will have experiences and suggestions of their own.

.....Oh and not forgetting MH professionals who tell people they worry too much if they care about members of their family who are ill.

And song of the day, in honour of 21st century - state of the art has to be:

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Waking, crying, sleeping, waking

That was how my day went.

Have had contact with members of Dad's MH team. Another review meeting is being arranged. Objectively thinking, this might lead to something better. Is the tiredness that got to me really...and feeling hopeless.

His care co-ordinator said that all I have to do is ring them and they will come round. Viz a vie the traumatic trip to the local shops. That will be good, if it happens. Only I can never know when Dad is going to need something. Like with the meds that didn't turn up and running out of food and needing to go to the shops but will ring them if necessary and hopefully they will be able to help.

The team manager rang and it was his idea to have a review meeting. I dont' mind going to the meeting, if it does make some difference. He said I worry too much. Maybe I do but when you are on your own, trying to work out what is best for a family member it is hard not to worry. I want the best kind of care for Dad and I don't think he is getting it and after a year, I don't have much faith that he will get it either.

Anyway, have stopped crying. Which is something and I got a long sleep, which bought some peace. I was woken by a friend, ringing me because she was worried about me. That was actually quite positive. To know someone cared enough about me to ring. Silly maybe or not silly but not mega but sometimes it is things like that which help me to carry on.

Am going back to sleep because I am tired again. Sleep isn't always the best place with depression but it can help recharge the batteries.

Monday, 2 February 2009

This sale has been voided.

Could write 'Can't be arsed' but it is more than that...or maybe less????

I have nothing to give right now (in regards to blogland or other networky type things)....nor do I wish to take anything.

There are things that I am doing...such as walking to the shops with Dad to help him get his shopping, later. And that is how it is.