Friday, 15 January 2016

Stratheden Hospital Discharge Programme: cost cutting @nhsfife; costing carers & their families

Today I met up in Cupar with a mother and carer, 74 years old.  She supports her son aged 47 who was discharged in 2013 when a long-stay patient at Stratheden Hospital, NHS Fife, of 20 years or more, at a cost of around £2500/week for inpatient "care".  

Now he is in "the community" and gets 12 hours a week "care" which often is a lot less than that.  At a cost of about £200/week to Fife Council, payment of about £7/hour to the support worker.  With the mother having to pick up the pieces, do her son's shopping, clean his house, take him into town and various other tasks.  His flat is cold, he doesn't put the heating on for fear of running up bills that he can't pay.  CPN engagement equates to a depot injection.  He never wants to go back into Stratheden, ever again.  He said he hates the place.

I have known this mother for around 12 years.  From volunteering on the same project in 2003 to when I ran Peer Support Fife and she came to some of our events.

Peer Support Fife website, archived since Nov12
And I would see this mother in the passing, hearing stories about her son's treatment in Stratheden.  His many suicide attempts, broken bones, over 26 abscondings and occasional transfers to other units.  Recently meeting her again in the street with her son, when she said that my name was mentioned by a fire officer as a person to contact for help.

Last night I phoned the mother to let her know about the MSP surgery today in Cupar and she went along, spoke to Roderick Campbell, telling her story, and I met with her afterwards for a chat and cup of tea in a cafe.  Then we went to the council offices and spoke to a social worker over the phone, asking about her son's care support needs.  I asked the question, why only 12 hours "support" per week or much less when the man was disabled by mental illness and wasn't being enabled or encouraged to manage his affairs or have quality of life?

The social worker on the phone said that it was up to the carer or her son to find out about any other financial support, through Citizens Advice and Rights Fife.  I explained that having mental illness meant a person wasn't motivated to do so.  There was mention of a "re-assessment" by his social worker who was off work, not back for a week or more.  I offered to be an advocate when any assessment was undertaken.  Although I am very concerned that this case, of mother and son, is only one of many.  Because in 2012 after my son was discharged from Stratheden Hospital I got no support from social work and neither did he.  Despite completing a Carer Assessment Form with Fife Council social work service.  I have heard from other Fife carers of similar struggles.

There's a pattern here.  Of mothers having to pick up the pieces after abusive psychiatric treatment in Fife.  And of mothers being asked to support other mothers because the system isn't.  Where does recovery come in?  What about person-centred care?  Is anyone listening?

Mental Health Strategy for Scotland 2012-2015

[Over to you Roderick Campbell MSP]

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