Sunday, 28 April 2019

Revising the Charter of Patients' Rights and Responsibilities 25Apr19 @ALLIANCEScot

Springfield rail station 25Apr19 at 7.30am
On Thursday I attended an event at the Health & Social Care Alliance building Charing Cross, Glasgow, led by Scottish Government on 'Revising the Charter of Patient's Rights and Responsibilities'.  The present Charter was first published in October 2012.  Here's a link on the NHS Inform website.

I set off from home to Springfield rail at around 7.15am, change at Haymarket for the Charing Cross train which took over an hour, the total journey nearly 3hrs travel.  

There were 3 women leading from ScotGov and a small group of event delegates, maybe around 8 of us, plus 2 Alliance staff.  One lady left at the beginning, not happy because we hadn't received the draft revision document in advance.  I understood her frustration, we should have been informed beforehand so as to prepare our responses.  However I'd travelled a distance to be involved and decided to stay and have a voice, reading quickly over the document.

One of the first things I noticed was inaccuracies about "mental disorder" and spoke out about this:

I also spoke out about being a whistleblower in Fife, exposing human rights abuses in psychiatric ward, locked seclusion room with no toilet, light or water, and how I was blamed in an Adult Protection Investigation Report led by the Fife Social Work Services with input from Police and NHS staff.  That I had been labelled a "troublemaker" and others present were not surprised at this, spoke of their own personal experience challenging poor and bad medical practices in Scotland.  

I felt that my voice was listened to at the Alliance event and that the Scottish Government civil servants behaved appropriately and professionally.  However I wasn't confident about the content of the Patients' Charter in respect of the human rights of psychiatric patients.  I am still of the view that entering a mental health ward as a patient, even when knowing what your rights and responsibilities are, does not guarantee that your voice will be heard or your human rights upheld.  This is based on my life experience since 1970, engaging with psychiatry in every decade as a carer or patient.  It hasn't got safer over the years, in fact it got worse in recent years for my family members.

I still believe that Scotland needs alternatives to psychiatry, for example Safe Houses for Psychosis, respite for people in emotional crisis without coercive medication, a place of respite and person-centred care.  Which is what I provided for my son after discharge from Stratheden psychiatric Hospital, April 2012, singlehandedly, having been abandoned by community MH services after raising complaints.  

with son Daniel 24Mar19 Springfield

After the Alliance ScotGov event I walked to the Mitchell Library, a favourite place, for a cuppa, then set off back east as it started to rain quite heavily:

I don't go to many mental health events now as it's costly for me in time, energy and money.  In January 2008 I got fully involved in MH matters via Scottish Recovery Network, thinking that my lifetime experience of recovering from psychosis and psychiatric treatment would be valued.  But it wasn't and neither was I.  

Fortunately I don't believe in mental illness or the mental disorder diagnosis labels which were thrust upon me and my family.  I consider them to be a work of fiction just like the Notes written by Stratheden IPCU Nurses in February 2012. 

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