Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Email just sent to head of OT mental health Stratheden - the word "micromanagement" a catalyst

taken Dec12 in Ceres Centre Stratheden Hospital
[Email just sent]

Dear ... (head of OT mental health NHS Fife)

Please find forwarded Email from November 2012 which I've just come upon.  Sent to you and asking for  a meeting, which never happened.  

The reason I was searching back my Emails was because of the word "micromanagement" which I remember you using with me at a meeting we had in 2010 (I read the word today in a blog post by Dr David Healy and it took me back to our meeting in your office at the Ceres Centre which at the time I found most unhelpful).  How you were not involved in the wards at Stratheden Hospital although you were/are based there.

I'm going to write a blog post about Occupational Therapy at Stratheden, in particular the IPCU where in February 2012 the patients were not even allowed pens to write with (basic human right, freedom of expression).  And I remember the OT at clinical meetings back then who seemed impotent to do anything about the regime in the ward.  Not sure why.  I'll forward you on the blog post when written.  It will have many questions which I can't answer but which I'm sure you or your cohorts will be able to answer.

The nurses said that pens were dangerous weapons, similarly plastic bottles with water in them could be used against the nurses.  The regime in that ward, back then, was very oppressive and entrenched.  The nurses used to roll their own cigarettes while on duty, in the TV room, with patients watching.  I remember doing an FOI request re IPCU policies and procedures, and they had none written down, so they said, as it "changed according to the patient population".  My response?  Great job if you can get it.  I don't know if it is any different now. 

I haven't heard from any patients recently (because I have a life outside of Stratheden Hospital) although I did hear a few weeks ago from a mother and carer who said that water bottles still weren't allowed.  I think it will take a major shift in culture and attitudes to make the psychiatric wards at Stratheden safe and therapeutic places for patients and their carers.  It will require action and not just words.  Changes in practice and not just more training and written documents.

I'm copying in ...... (acting general manager mental health, general manager NHS Fife and acting chief executive NHS Fife) who I assume are your line managers, or "above you" in terms of NHS Fife.  I suspect that the OTs and the clinical psychologists may still have no authority or power in the wards but I don't know this for sure.  It's all a bit of a mystery.  However I like mysteries and trying to solve them.  Always did.  But I do know for sure that someone is responsible for what goes on in the Fife psychiatric wards.  And it isn't me or the patients or carers or family members.  People are being paid to do a job of management and they really should be getting the job done (this is directed at clinical hierarchy).

[for interest, today I'm off the participate in the DClinPsy APEX (advisory panel for experts by experience) group at Edinburgh University.  I've been a member of this group for over 3 years.  I also take part in the Glasgow DClinPsy CUSP group (a similar user carer collective) where we engage in CBT and IPT workshop feedback with students and do other tasks linked to the course.]

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