Monday, 4 February 2013

mental welfare commission - superman or wise after the event?

I've engaged a lot with the mental welfare commission since 2010, highlighting poor psychiatric nursing practice and latterly human rights issues in locked wards.  It's become apparent to me that the commission is wise after the event rather than intervention at the time.  Of course, as a mother, I would prefer them to do something at the time and stop the bad practice and dehumanising behaviour.  Go in like Superman and sort it out.

But it doesn't work like this.  They are watchdogs on a leash who show their teeth in the writing of reports and spot check visits, keeping in contact with psychiatric institutions while listening to patients, carers and families who phone in and spill out their fears and anxieties.  Folk like me who feel that the commission's helpline doesn't help and their 'after the event' action isn't enough.

This makes for tension, between the commission and psychiatry, and between the commission and psychiatric patients/carers/families.  To me it seems the mental health act safeguards aren't always or often safe.  This is a dilemma that needs to be addressed, in my opinion.  Safeguards shouldn't be in name only, they have to work.  Otherwise the whole watchdog scenario is a work of fiction.  Like Superman.

I think the mental welfare commission and the mental health act safeguards should be more effective and prescient.  For the here and now, not just the future.  Otherwise human rights issues in psychiatric 'care' will continue and poor nursing practice will not be challenged.  You can't depend on the user/survivor/carer voice to do the job.  That's not fair.  We're not getting paid for it and why should we do everyone's jobs for them?

However, some positive feedback, it's good to see the commission employing/using people with lived experience in their visits to psychiatric institutions.  The challenge there is that these voices will be heard by the high heid yins in the MWC.  I say, listen to them even if it's painful.  

Don't metaphorically or otherwise put the phone down on them and us.  It's not nice.  Brush up on your communication skills.  Really engage with folk like me.  Keep up the contact face-to-face, even when the going gets tough.  We are the folk on the ground having to deal with the fallout of psychiatric institutional treatment.  When there's force being used you know it's not good enough, no matter if it's justified because of detention orders.

Be wiser during the event.  Listen more to the people at the sharp end of psychiatric treatment.  We want an action figure more real than Superman so, sleep easy, there's no requirement for the blue tights and red cape.  Yet.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Christine, what do you think about The Equality Act, within the act does gift that we have "Protected Characteristics," thus might think that to remove those would be to degrade another, and so forth degrading treatment.

    Now the get out clause is when a person submits to disability, the powers at be then claim legit treatments, force psychiatry maybe one of them?

    However, many aspects of The Equality Act, never been put before a public court, and Mental Welfare Commission & Mental Health Tribunals, all confirm that equality be outside their sphere, although are duty bound within the act from Public Sector Duty.

    Could you foresee equality as a route to safe guarding patients?