Too many mental health patients have freedoms restricted

And the fact that this didn’t come as a surprise should be shocking.

The Care Quality Commission published their Mental Health Act Annual report today. It found that 15% of people were not directly involved in their own treatment decisions. The use of detention under the Mental Health Act has increased by 5% in the last year.

This is not great news in a society that generally seemed to me, at least, to be improving in its ability to talk about mental health in a more open and less stigmatising way, helped by the recent disclosures by footballers about their experiences of depression. Yes, I know they were treated badly by some sections of their own community but I don’t think any footballer would have dreamed discussing it in the open when I started my nursing career.

What made me sad more than anything else, was that the culture seems to be coming more and more about control and restraint and restrictions than about therapy. I can remember when the decision was taken locally to lock the doors on all the mental health in-patient units.

For me it was a disaster. It seemed to mean that rather than having to need to have therapeutic skills and relationships with the people you were caring for, it meant all that was needed was somebody with a swipe pass. Some of the best interventions I’ve ever been involved in were when people were determined to leave the ward, sometimes it was a good decision, sometimes less so. But unless there was an immediate and very high risk, people chose for themselves whether being an inpatient was right for them.

There are lots of brilliant nurses and carers out there. There are some fantastic service user groups and advocates. Let’s hope this report spurs them on to retake the lead and move back from restriction to therapy.

If you’d like to involve me in a review of your care, culture and practices, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

The report is available here.

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Care HR Solutions – Open for business

After many years of wanting to have my own business and after a few months of planning and preparation – here I am.

I’m really looking forward to working with social and health care providers to really improve their businesses.  As far as I know there are only ‘two of me’ in the country, that is registered nurses as well as qualified HR professionals. The other is called Sarah and works for the RCN.  I’d always be happy to hear from more…

And that is what I think gives me and this business its USP.  In the care business you almost always come back to the people, a drug here, a technical intervention there, for sure; but it’s people.  People caring for people.  

Look back at almost any report following something going wrong and looking toward the soon to be published Mid-Staffs report; it’ll be people who need to take responsibility and make the changes.    

I’ve spent years caring for and about people and Care HR Solutions Ltd is my opportunity (and yours in partnership) to support and develop both people and caring around the South East, London, the Channel Islands and the Midlands.  I’ve got a great track record in helping people to learn, take responsibility and develop.  

Don’t hesitate to get in touch & I’ll do my best to post articles and things of interest here.

Take care and best wishes, Julian

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