Sunday, 17 May 2015

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

This is what was said to me today (16 May 2015) by the Acting General Manager for Mental Health, Graham Monteith, at the Public Information Session on the new build IPCU in Stratheden Hospital, held in the South View conference room in the Psychology building.

And the Acting General Manager proceeded to be difficult and resisted any attempt to engage meaningfully with me.  The barriers were up.  There was no level playing field.  It's happened on the two occasions I've met with this man before, at an SIHR (Scottish Institute of Human Relations) event in June 2011, then in Playfield Institute, December 2012.

I wonder if the two years on secondment that the Acting General Manager had with Scottish Government's mental health division, prior to this post and after working at Playfield Institute, has caused him to get too big for his boots?  Like other civil/uncivil servants I have known.

Maybe he just doesn't like me and that's OK.  However I don't appreciate the man speaking as if he is the voice of NHS Fife.  If he was a mental patient they would be diagnosing him with delusions of grandeur.

Here are some photos from today:

prior to going in

person-centred care (but not from the Acting General Manager)

no MWC staff were on hand
new IPCU plans explained to me by helpful architect, estates manager, project manager & builder rep
manager who has responsibilities for MH Act training (more human rights focus needed)

carers info
view from psychology building after coming out
relaxing cream tea in Cupar Tearoom after info session

Finally and fortunately, despite the negative vibes from the Acting General Manager, I enjoyed the two information sessions and networking with a wide range of people, including Dr Reid, Consultant Psychiatrist, Jim Leiper, Estates Director, staff nurses who work at the IPCU and low secure unit, Estates staff, the architect and building project reps, health board members, advocacy workers, patients and others.

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.


  1. Dear Chrys,
    I have had the exact opposite experience to NHS Fife.

    You and I have communicated with each other for a couple of years now and engaging with you has enriched both my life and understanding. This has never once been a "difficult engagement”. We share are of the view that all views and questions matter. Also that to improve care (and crucially wider understanding) voices of experience should be as free as possible. This is perhaps the "challenge" for NHS Scotland.

    My view is that Scotland's mental health world needs more "challenging" voices like yours. I say this as an NHS psychiatrist working in Scotland for over 20 years.

    aye Dr Peter Gordon

    1. Peter thanks for commenting and for your solidarity.

      I appreciate our engagement, it has been a mutual learning experience on level playing fields.

      Regards, Chrys


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