Tuesday, 12 January 2016

the veiled threat

In February 2012 when my son was a psychiatric patient in Stratheden Hospital's IPCU locked ward, being locked in the seclusion room overnight for hours at a time, unobserved, I attended the first clinical meeting in the ward with my son.  It might have been about 10 days after his incarceration.

back view IPCU building 2014

And at this meeting the consultant forensic psychiatrist, when my son was out having a smoke, made a veiled threat to me about the medium secure unit Orchard Clinic, Edinburgh, and the high secure State Hospital, Carstairs (where he used to work).  That if my son didn't behave himself then he might end up in one of these places.

I had already met with this psychiatrist on a one-to-one, about a week after I had asked to meet with him.  He kept me waiting.  I got the measure of the man at this initial meeting.  Didn't like him.  Found him shifty.  Wouldn't have trusted him. 

Therefore a few days later at the clinical ward meeting, after the veiled threat, I decided there and then to advocate for my son when he wanted me to.  I would not be taking sides with the system or its adherents.  Rather I would represent my son's views at meetings and be an independent advocate and witness.  If he didn't want to take psychiatric drugs then I would support him in this.   As a carer I would give my views if asked but my allegiance was with my son's stance.

At that point I didn't know the extent of the abuse that was going on in the ward.  The locked seclusion room.  The draconian measures used to "manage" the patients.  The imaginary line in the dining room which if crossed by patients could result in them being brought to the ground.  Plastic cutlery.  Drinking water in bottles locked away in cupboards, the water machine locked away in the dining room.  Many locked doors within the ward.  Staff who were more like jailers than nurses.

Despite the ward abuses my son was able to resist for a short while until they forcibly injected him with Haloperidol in the locked seclusion room and tried to break his spirit.  At one clinical meeting he came into the room and sat on the chair that had a jacket on the back of it, belonging to the consultant forensic psychiatrist.  Whereupon the man lost the head at my son, made a fool of himself, saying it was his chair and didn't my son notice his jacket.  Well of course he noticed.  That's why he sat on it.

I thought the psychiatrist was a fool.  Showing himself up in front of his clinical team.  He retired at the end of March 2012 and I heard later that he went on to do supply work at Carseview Centre, Dundee.  Raking in a big pension and extra monies.  My son was transferred to Lomond Ward at the end of February and discharged at the beginning of April 2012.  Broken hand, glandular infection, bad verrucas needing treatment.
photo taken 16 July 2012

I started the Stratheden Hospital blog in July 2012 with photos of the hospital environment, after having a meeting with the General Manager for mental health in his office not far from the IPCU.  Because he didn't listen to me and was prepared to go on ignoring the entrenchment of NHS Fife psychiatric nurses in the Stratheden wards, and the abuse of patients.  

I was not prepared to let that happen.  And so I took on the institution and the Fife health board.  They got £4.4million for a new IPCU.  I got blamed for causing psychological harm to my son when they were abusing him.  I only found this out later on in the year when receiving a copy of the Adult Protection Investigation report written by a Mental Health Officer with Fife Council.  Which had found nothing wrong with my son's "care".  


Blog post "collusion and control" 24 August 2012, after I received copy of Adult Protection Investigation report:

"Investigations into adult protection can be like shutting the gate after the horse has bolted.  Too late too little.  Diversionary tactics of blaming others.  Non system others.  Keeping up the appearances.  That force is justified if a person is mentally ill.  Does that mean they deserve it? 

Families left to pick up the pieces.  Put their reputations back together again.  Shake off the disappointment but retain a modicum of distrust.  Learning from the experience that not everything does what it says on the tin.  Older and wiser and stronger.  Ready for the next round."
Blog post "social work service involvement - what are the risks" 25 October 2012

"Then there is the adult protection investigation, undertaken by teams of statutory colleagues, headed up by social work, where anything and everything, said or written in the notes by a professional seems to be taken as evidence.  While things said or done by a patient or carer or family member appear to need verification.  You may even be under investigation as a carer and unaware of it.  For daring to question the psychiatric treatment and human rights issues."

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