Overjoyed as I am to be lumbered with my own 'Blog', I am sensible and wise enough to realise that not everyone agrees with me. But then - as Oscar Wilde said, "I do hate it when people agree with me - it makes me certain that I am wrong". We all need to be reminded of our limitations and I readily bow down before the wisdom of ( Cllr ) Rita Austin, who served on the last Health Board. I have referred to her words before, but thought it timely to remind everyone of her wisdom by quoting her last published letter, verbatim. R.W.
"In Mental Health, it has always been a case of jam tomorrow"
So Cardiff & Vale Community Health Council has given Cardiff and Vale University Health Board one month to to resolve the overcrowding at Whitchurch Hospital ("Psychiatric patients forced to bed-share" June 22nd ).
This problem has meant patients detained under the Mental Health Acts having to "share" beds or being moved between wards and hospitals in the middle of the night. What does the UHB need to do before the CHC is satisfied ? And what does the CHC propose to do if the UHB does not meet the month's deadline ? Have the CHC or the UHB the slightest clue ?
I only ask because this is the same CHC which only a few months ago agreed the Board's plans not to proceed with the new mental health unit at Whitchurch Hospital, plans put on hold within months of taking over. Had the CHC opposed the Boards misconceived plans, the people of Cardiff generally, and patients sectioned under the Act in particular, would be benefitting from a new unit at Whitchurch Hospital. Designed with more beds, it was scheduled to open in 2010.
Regretably in mental health provision it has always been a case of Jam Tomorrow. The Board and the CHC could have made it Jam Today last year, but chose not to.
Senior executives lamentably failed to answer me when I asked for their specific plans for patients detained under the Acts in their brand new scheme of things. Knowing that the single unit at Llandough would take four years to happen, I asked for further and better capacity particularsfor the interim at Whitchurch as well as the future when all in-patient mental health services would be located at Llandough. Answer came there none.
What a pity the CHC did not press the capacity issues then. Bolting horses and shutting stable doors comes yo mind. And on just what planet can \2continuity of Care be advanced as a reason for moving longer-term patients daily from their beds or nightly between wards and hospitals \/
\as a fit and well person I would not want to be treated this way - would you ?. So, can you imagine what it does to the comfirt, welfare and wellbeing of those who are unwell enough to be detained under the Mental Health Act ?
N.B. Months later, neither Rita Austin nor anyone else has received the slightest hint as to what answers to these probing questions might possibly be, leaving uncertaintly, 'like a dark cloud' hanging over us all. R.W.