Monday, 25 May 2015

NES Training Director Psychology Services response re EbE involvement: nothing to report; I'm looking for ACTION

Email response received from Judy Thomson, Director of Training for Psychology Services NHS Education for Scotland, on 21 May 2015

[Email reminder sent 18 May: 'Letter to NES Director of Training for Psychology Services: what's happening re EbE involvement in DClinPsy training Scotland?']

"Dear Chrys, 

Some helpful initial discussions about this have been held by the EBE and governance groups linked to the programmes. I aim to have a plan for the review agreed over the Summer to take forward in the Autumn. I think this is likely to involve seeing what we can learn from others across the UK and internationally as well as considering how to build on the good work that is already being done locally.

I want the process to enable a range of views, opinions and suggestions to be gathered but there are no details about this yet. Thanks for your continuing interest.

Best wishes


NES website link

And my letter in response sent early morning 22 May 2015:

Strapline: Action - Results - Input of money and expertise - get the EbE onboard, properly, meaningfully 

"Dear Judy 

I do hope that you and NES are going to ACT and not just write a report.  As in, do something, put resources in, get results, to demonstrate the meaningful involvement of experts by experience.  Enable EbE to lead and set agendas.  To encourage all voices at the table.  To do this will require an input of money and expertise.  With something to show for it at the end of the process.  Not just gathering views for the sake of it.

I speak from the lived experience of being a community development worker since 1980, having set up many projects, from scratch, at the grassroots.  Recruiting, training and supporting volunteers.  Setting up systems and empowering people, myself included.  Mutual benefits.  Lifelong learning.

Here are a few examples of what I used to do in various communities of interest: 

  • raising funds to set up a toy library in Lanark, for playgroups in the local area, and travelling around these groups co-ordinating activities, delivering training with SPPA 1980-83, mostly voluntarily;
  • setting up playschemes, youth groups and after-school clubs in Rigside, Lanark, 1980-90, including raising funds for a community minibus of which I was one of the drivers.  At the same time bringing up my 3 boys.  The community development was for my sons' benefit as well as other families;
  • taking on the position of PT warden at Age Concern, Cupar, 1991, only 10-15 members attending, building up the work, cooking home made meals, involving elderly members in the kitchen, bus holiday to Morecambe, bringing in hairdresser, library etc, by the time I left, 18 months later, there were 45-50 having lunch twice a week and they employed two wardens.  My sons would come in and help.  At the same time I worked PT at the YMCA in Cupar, set up summer playscheme, after-school club;
  • volunteer manager in Perth, paid FT post, again recruiting, training etc, based in The Gateway, working with carers at the PRTC, driving a minibus bringing elderly in to a respite centre.  Advocacy work with a range of people including a woman with Friedreich's Ataxia, a man with Down's Syndrome and early onset dementia, a young man in a forensic ward at Murray Royal who eventually became a volunteer in The Gateway;
    workshop I organised at Levenmouth campus
  • setting up a student mentoring scheme at Fife/Adam Smith College 2006-8, from scratch, training, supporting supervising one-to-one and group mentoring.  While also finding work placements for students with disabilities and barriers to employment.  Students got jobs out of this eg a placement with Aberlour Childcare Trust, a residential home, HNC social care student, relief work then permanent post; a welding placement for mature man who got offered a job;

This is the sort of thing I'm looking for when I use the word ACTION.  Since getting "meaningfully involved" in Scotland's mental health world in 2008 there has been a lot of talk and very little action.  Scottish Government documents that are all rhetoric and not much substance.  Community work was all about the doing of it, having something to show for it, having the end goal in sight during the process.  Working towards it.  

Civil servants are throwing money at the likes of SRN and See Me with very little to show for it, in terms of real improvements.  People attend their events for a free lunch then often leave right after.  I saw this at the big Murrayfield SRN event in 2013, a mass exodus after lunch.  Where Geoff Huggins had a spot along with Nigel Henderson, before lunch.  The real voices of experience were in the audience.  As usual.  The people who had something important to say were relegated to a few minutes at the microphone or in a workshop where their voices couldn't be heard.

You finish by saying to me "Thanks for your continuing interest".  Well that's not good enough.  I deserve a better response than this.  Which, to be honest, is patronising and insulting.  When you consider that the HEAT target for psychological therapies is a nonsense and that people cannot access talking therapies when they are in mental distress.  

I will put your Email and my response in a blog post.  So that others can read them, if they so wish.  I do wonder if NES and other HIS quango organisations are only going through the motions.  While it's us on the ground, the real experts, who are doing the work at great cost.

Yours frustratedly,


plans for £4.4million new-build IPCU Stratheden Hospital to be completed Spring 2016


Further reading: "NHS Fife finds it difficult to engage with you" (but I will continue to actively engage with them) 

"I am encouraged to hear that NHS Fife is committed to improving mental health services and to see the quality of the new build IPCU, at a cost of £4.4million from Scottish Government, which has been planned in great detail with a range of resources to provide therapeutic care to patients who require the service.  

I am very proud of my son for exposing the "unreasonable treatment" and the use of the locked seclusion room to manage patients in the old IPCU that was declared "unfit for purpose".  It has cost us both to speak out about the psychiatric abuse which he was subject to.  And it is still costing us.  The new IPCU has my son's name on it.

June 2011 PS Fife News Byte which I wrote and edited

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