Today was not a good day (Brexit aside), with a snippet of sunshine. A good mate and her family are enduring a family life that sits outside of the outer ring of anything remotely resembling acceptable. Their biggest fear right now is that their son will be admitted to St Andrews, in Northampton.

Yesterday, Channel 4 held a round table event to discuss the recent harrowing Dispatches documentary, Under Lock and Key, featuring St Andrews. Despite their glitzy website and talking the talk, St Andrews clearly falls short of providing the world class leading mental health services they claim to do. In fact, it’s hard to imagine what the £11,600 a week buys for some patients (other than the enamel removing senior executive salaries). This doesn’t stop NHS England and other commissioners flashing the cash regularly and consistently keeping people within their increasingly prison like walls.

Just this this week, the St Andrews adolescent provision received another ‘requires improvement’ CQC inspection report. Scrolling through the ‘view all reports’ link shows that their adolescent provision has required improvement since back in the day. Wow. Requiring improvement and charging more than it costs to live at Disney World*. This is, simply extraordinary.

The latest inspection report shows that, for your buck, you get a hefty wedge of seclusion and restraint. Of the four wards of 10 patients (adolescents) in each, the prone (prone) restraint figures per shite named ward (of an overall 905 recorded restraints in the past year) are; Acorn (52%), Bracken (33%), Fern (26%) and Brook (11%). This is, simply, scandalous.

Acorn, Bracken, Fern and Brook. Elsa, Mickey, Snow White and Mowgli …

The Channel 4 gig demonstrated the passion of the filmmakers and families featured in the film, and their commitment to ending the inhumane practices so many people are subjected. I’ve a lot of love for Alison Millar and team, who clearly forged relationships with families and did a shedload of research, and Channel 4 for hosting the event with gravitas, exemplary time keeping and breakfast. The lack of public outrage after the film was shown demonstrates the mountain they, along with so many of us, including the indefatigable Norman Lamb, are facing in trying to stop the careless brutality inflicted on so many people and families.

Sadly, this brutality doesn’t seem to penetrate the web of collective myopia too many senior people implicated cosy into. [There were no representatives from NSE England or the CQC.]

I was sitting next to Laura and Burt whose son, Bill, died from constipation in St Andrews. Laura, at one point, asked the Northants MP if he had ever stepped foot inside one of the new, enclosed quads that the swanky new build incorporates. A constrained daylight with no view. He didn’t answer.

I had a three hour meeting this morning, in a local hotel meeting room, providing supplementary evidence for the GMC. This is in advance of the tribunal of LB’s psychiatrist, scheduled for two weeks in August. Over four years after LB died. It was a deeply upsetting experience, despite the sensitivity of the solicitors collecting the evidence. How could it not be?

I’m listening to Keane tonight. The tears are back. Rich said earlier; “I feel we’ve gone back three years”. I dunno. I’m kind of out of ideas.

Where are we at?

  1. Certain people are dying premature and preventable deaths without scrutiny. Trying to gain any accountability involves unspeakable efforts by families.
  2. Commissioners/NHS England don’t know what good looks like and chuck dosh at crap. This generates ‘credibility’ and licence to provide further shite, leading to the growth of large scale institutions like St Andrews.
  3. There is little, or no, good local support to either prevent admittance or enable people to come out of units.
  4. Families endure unspeakable situations to avoid inpatient admittance.

It is a pile of shite. Just as it was four years ago when LB was admitted to the unit.

*Thanks to Tim Keilty for the number crunching here.

9 thoughts on “Bedshaped…

  1. So good to have you back, Sara. It is awful, I absolutely agree. I think we need to find some insiders in the system, maybe people who have retired, to advise on how to shake the tree more effectively. Public opinion, emotional appeals, anger, legal system, official reports, regulators have all failed but there must be another way. I know someone who has just left his job at the CQC. I will ask him if he has any ideas, Jan

  2. Leaders and foot soldiers all…. taking the shilling….and all saying……”just doing my job”

    Just like the last time

  3. The lack of public outrage after the film was shown makes me despair. We need the public to be horrified, we need the media to be horrified. Where are they?

    • There are many things to be horrified about right now distracting the public, possibly causing fatigue and making too many demands of the public.
      But huge payments for pretend treatment can’t go on, so the media is still a great help for exposing, as many more people now know.
      Sara’s right about unspeakable efforts made by families.
      There must be a debate, although it’s already right here on this site, and being read by many at this time.
      Why is a mother with a dead child having to take the lead?

      CQC need to tell us why ‘requiring improvement’ is repeatedly said, like a broken record. Why is no one putting anything right? Where are the legal actions, that happen as part of what’s called enforcement?
      Can requiring improvement just go on and on and on?

  4. Hi Sara.. you doing a fabulous campaign for not just your boy but so many others thankyou.
    Please advise how you got anywhere with Gmc…my complaint got thrown straight out despite numerous failings being proved. Any advise accepted.

    • Crumbs, sorry Melanie. I don’t know how, really, other than screaming failings documented publicly. It’s like trying to climb Mount Everest with a toothpick really. Our solicitor helped draft the initial letter asking for a referral. Did you have any support with yours?

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