Thursday, 19 June 2014

Orange Pyjamas question at the double imhl

At the double imhl Manchester conference on the Thursday morning we had speaker Martin Rogan, chair of the sponsoring countries leadership group of the double imhl.  I have to admit to posting on facebook that I wasn't impressed with what Martin had to say and was "gritting my teeth".

Well my comment sparked off responses from Irish campaigners who recommended I ask him about the Orange Pyjamas at the Tallaght psychiatric unit.  Not one to resist a challenge I put my hand up at the question time and persisted until I was heard.  

The gist of it was that patients in this unit were put in the Orange Pyjamas when admitted whether they had their own pyjamas with them or not.  Martin Rogan used the term "Guantanamo" when describing them.  Which I thought summed up the situation very well.  He rose in my estimation. 

Martin and Kevin Plunkett, director of nursing at Waterford/Wexford, came up and spoke to me where I sat, at the break, and said they would find out what's what.  Which they did and I heard from them the next day that the Orange Pyjamas were a job lot in the Dublin area, for use in all hospitals, not just the psychiatric one, for patients who have no pyjamas.
not actual Orange Pyjamas

However the issue is that in the psychiatric ward the patients are being made to wear the Orange Pyjamas even if they have their own set.  This sounds to me like a shaming exercise.  I know that the carers and activists in the Tallaght area are not happy and have complained about this since 2012 or before.  Raising their voices but not it appears being heard.

I hope that the voices of patients, carers, mothers and families will be heard at Tallaght, and that reason will prevail.  I can't see any meaningful reason for making patients wear Orange Pyjamas unless it was to help them hide their nakedness, if they had nothing else to wear.  Otherwise it would seem to be like a badge of shame and a means of separating the mad from the sane.  

But I have to say it.  Who are the mad ones in Tallaght?

[more to follow]


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