Wednesday, 7 January 2015

my feedback on @StrongerVoice "red" report sent in Email to Director of Scottish Health Council

I sent an Email earlier today to the Director of the Scottish Health Council (SHC) after receiving an Email from his office about the 'Stronger Voice: reports of engagement activity', which said:

"Through all of our engagement activities, we heard from a total of 1,188 people and their feedback helped to inform proposals for the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing on what stronger voice for service users and the public in health and social care could look like."

There were links to the Stronger Voice engagement activity reports.  I was one of those who had "engaged" and also had a conversation with the SHC Director, on 9 October 2014 at the Stronger Voice event in the Discovery Point, Dundee.  Where I was captured by social reporter Rosie on video:

Here is a copy of my Email sent to the SHC Director today with names taken out:

Dear Mr ....... (Director SHC)

I'm having a look through the Stronger Voice "red" report on feedback from local discussion sessions, just received, to see if I like it.  The quote from page 5 at 2.3 caught my eye and has caused me to put pen to paper/fingers to keyboard, and I'm winging it your way, first:

"Healthcare Improvement Scotland and the Scottish Health Council were asked to produce proposals, before the end of 2014, that describe a delivery model that gives a much Stronger Voice to patients, their families and carers and the general public. Success will be measured by the production of a proposal(s), developed and agreed collaboratively with all stakeholders, that sets out arrangements for a new system that will strengthen the patient and public voice in Scotland."

and then immediately following that at 3.1:

"The Scottish Health Council is committed to people having a greater say in their health and social care services and the importance of developing a new system to support that. We are also committed to engaging with our stakeholders (for example, patients, families, carers, and the public, the NHS, Local Authorities, and the Third Sector) in the development of a new proposal for a Stronger Voice for patients and the public."

An issue for me is that HIS (or hiss as I sometimes call them) stopped my strong voice speaking out about patient safety issues in psychiatric settings.  Ms ......, MBE, chair of VOX and employee of HIS, could have had something to do with it as I'd spoken out about her job role being a conflict of interest and for my sins was banned from VOX events.  There's no doubt that her joint roles compromise the independence of the mental health user voice in Scotland.  I'm not the only one who's unhappy about it.

[I will be writing more about this and about the MBE, it's irresistible, I call it "member of the bullying empire".  I don't know the woman personally, have only met her twice face-to-face.  The first time in Brisbane at the 2009 IIMHL where I asked someone to identify her, then went up and spoke to her about the 5 free places going to VOX and HUG folk.  Ms ...... stood her ground and told me that Scottish Government had been involved in the picking.  Aka Mr ... (civil servant)]

Mr .... (civil servant) joined in the badmouthing and exclusion of me, because I complained about being left out of the Edinburgh Castle celebrations, sending me a stinging Email on 24 June 2014.  This was after he had left the mental health division and under the wing of ..... .... (very senior civil servant).  Who said that my complaint against Mr .... (civil servant) was not upheld and that the report by Ms .... (another civil servant in different division) was "robust".  A report that praised the civil/uncivil servant Mr ...., got people to testify to his good character but asked none of my supporters to do the same.  I was hung out to dry, a mother with no name.  A misuse and abuse of power.

Back to the report page 8: "People felt that there was a risk that health and social care service providers and staff make assumptions on behalf of the public rather than really listening to what people say".  Yes there is a great risk, especially in mental health settings where the rights of the detained patient can be denied and carers disrespected.  And "negative impact on the way they felt and how well they recovered".  Yes I agree.

Page 9 I mostly agree with.  Page 10 I am not in full agreement with.  I like the Alliance but it is growing very quickly and we have to watch out for empire building.  Let's keep a grassroots focus and room for the smaller, collective voice.  Sometimes ones, twos, threes.  A few speaking out critically or questioningly.  Challenging the status quo.

Page 11 and mention of the SPSO.  Although I won my complaint, in part, against NHS Fife, that I raised with the Ombudsman it was a hard battle to win even a small victory.  The admission of "unreasonable treatment" when the reality was human rights abuses behind the locked doors of a psychiatric ward.  Behaviours and a culture that had been going on for generations.  I know of one man who, when aged 16 and in the Stratheden IPCU/Ward 4, was subject to abuse and eventually sexual grooming by a psychiatric nurse.  

"confidentiality" is a one-sided affair in health settings, mental health wise, in my experience.  Used to disempower carers and patients.  Page 12 "fear mentality", yes I agree.  Comments about social media.  For me this has been a life saver and means by which I have a voice and can speak out, as a psychiatric survivor and carer.

Page 14 and mention of "information".  I think this is key for having a stronger voice.  Being informed and informing others.  The internet I have found to be a very useful resource, like the Pears Cyclopaedia (see images) we had in our house in Perth, back in the 1960's, and which I used to often read as a girl to find out about this and that.  The internet is like a window on the world and a means by which we can communicate with people of like minds.  Anywhere and everywhere.  The opportunities are endless.  It makes sense for people to be encouraged to get onboard, I think.  

My overall impression of this red report?  Better than expected, apart from the mention of Healthcare Improvement Scotland who aren't favourites of mine, it has to be said.  A quango that has too much power and not enough intelligence, in my experience.

Hope this is useful,

Yours sincerely,


like the one we had in the 1960's
"The Pears Cyclopaedia is a one-volume encyclopaedia published in the United Kingdom. Pears Soap launched Pears Shilling Cyclopaedia in December 1897.

Since 1953 it has been published annually. The 58th edition, published in the autumn of 1948, stated that "This book is published annually"; however, the 61st edition was not published until 1953, the 60th being published in 1950. Prior to the 58th edition it was published 'as demand required', which meant that in some years three editions would be published and at other times more than a year would pass between editions. The most recent edition (2014-2015) is the 123rd edition, published in September 2014.

Each edition features an atlas, a gazetteer, a list of prominent people (past and present), a miniature encyclopaedia of general information, and a chronological list of events. In addition, each edition features a collection of around a dozen or more other sections about specialist subjects such as cookery, classical mythology, gardening, etc. The selection of these is rotated from year to year." from Wikipedia

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