Friday, 15 January 2016

'Nurses should lead the culture change': Email to Associate Chief Nursing Officer @scotgov

Here is an Email which I sent today to Hugh Masters, Associate Chief Nursing Officer, Scottish Government, who I have engaged with in the past in person and by Email, and who arranged for my involvement on the Scottish Crisis and Acute Care Network steering group. from 2011-14:

Strapline: 'Nurses should lead the culture change': Jenni Middleton, Nursing Times

"Dear Hugh

Here is a comment piece by the Editor of the Nursing Times which I have just noticed on twitter:

"Since the publication of the Francis Report into care failings at Mid Staffordshire, the NHS has been awash with patients and staff who claim to have raised concerns and been ignored or even vilified. Many of those staff were nurses, who, as the clinicians closest to patients and service users, see first-hand how organisational culture affects the quality of care provided. They can also see the impact of poor care, lack of resources and bad judgements."

"We want all staff to feel able to speak up when they see something that is – or might be – wrong, so it can be addressed and used as a learning opportunity, so that such mistakes can be avoided in the future.

I hope that there can be the same transparency and openness in Scotland's psychiatric hospital settings.  Rather than patients and carers having to be whistleblowers, mothers subject to slandering of reputations and blamed for causing "psychological harm" when health boards were condoning the use of locked seclusions with no toilets or drinking water.  Patients locked in and left, unobserved.  Everyone involved being dehumanised in the process.

I also hope that you and Scottish Government are going to create paid posts, proper salaries, for people with "lived experience" of surviving psychiatry and effective whistleblowing, despite attempts to bully and intimidate.  It is way beyond time that the people who expose human rights abuses and service failures in psychiatric settings and mental health treatment are praised for their actions.  Rather than excluded, patronised or sidelined.  Resilience should be rewarded.  And that includes paid mental health professionals who have put their jobs on the line when speaking out against poor or bad practice. 

I am now looking for full-time paid work in mental health matters.  Because my caring duties have receded and because I need to earn some money.  Fortunately I have the energy for it, physically and mentally.  The last 8 years of voluntary mental health activism and campaigning, coupled with caring responsibilities, has made me financially poor and dependent on family members to subsidise my income.  This is adding insult to injury.  It's just not fair.  

Yours sincerely (still speaking out),


cc nursing colleagues and others"


my presentation at the Scottish Crisis & Acute Care Network Conference in Stirling on 29 October 2013


I am going to speak of my experiences as a carer and mother, supporting two sons on the pathway through psychiatric inpatient care, in two different health board areas, in the last 18 months.  Both were in IPCUs and acute wards.  I want to compare and contrast the experiences, highlight the challenges and suggest improvements and alternatives.

I will speak in particular about the access to acute services for my youngest son in the area where I live, while I will describe the complete pathway in terms of my middle son, from access through to discharge.  I have an ongoing complaint into what happened to my youngest son while he was a psychiatric inpatient so I won’t be talking about this.

Firstly I will give some background information in respect of my family’s story, who we are and where we came from.  Then I will describe something of the two pathways.  Finally I will describe the ‘perfect pathway’ from my perspective.  There will be photos of me and my family on the powerpoint as I speak. ..."

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