Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Broadening the Blog - Infusions of Talent on Health Matters

I sincerely hope that you like the contributions from my dear friend 'Magpie' ( a.k.a. Lynnette Spragg ) and, of course the masterpiece from Gillian.  I had decided to alter the design of the blog but don't know how to do this, even though I have had some advice.  As Llinos rightly said, I write mainly on Mental Health, and she on Maternity Matters. Nobody appears to give a jot for Mental Health matters, so I reasoned that having other health-concerned campaigners add posts to my blog, they ( in turn ) would ( hopefully ) read some of the posts about the stark problems facing the mentally ill.  Doubtless, there is a lot in common with other services as they all ( probably ) have similar gripes and groans about their specialist area of healthcare, as I do about the savage cuts to Mental Health Services.  Consequently, I invite any interested party to contact me on 029 - 20711371, or 0775 1313353, with a view to sending me a post ( in Word ) that will help me to broaden the scope of what I like to think is 'OUR' blog, not mine.  Meanwhile, if you receive a copy of 'Sefyll' ( whatever that means ) from from the sycophantic Cardiff and Vale (Homeless) Mental Health Project, please read the cra-sorry-contents which tell you all about 'the Recovery' model, especially the 'Charter for Mental Health' on page 5.

My first thought was that this Recovery baloney was taken from the preaching of Mrs Mary Baker Eddy, founder of the Christian Science Church, which preaches that 'all illness is in the mind etc etc ad nauseum'. The similarity between the two is startling in that they both ( along with; The Welsh Government, NHS Wales, The Universally Inept Health Board ( Cardiff & Vale ) and, of course our dear 'friends' on the Community Health Council ) believe that all our illnesses are psychosomatic.

So don't worry about Coronary Heart Disease, Muscular Dystrophy, Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer's, or those silly Cancers, that take us to hospital ( apparently unnecessarily ), we are all to heal ourselves in future, because all ailments our 'All in the Mind'.  Just think of all those wasted years of research into illnesses and treatments when, all the time, we could have been good Christian Scientists, or followers of the Incompetent members of the Universally Inept Health Board, and healed ourselves.  
"Last one off the cliffs is sissy !"   RW

Sunday, 25 September 2011

RCN calls for longer visiting hours to allow families to play roles of carers?

 I usually agree whole heartedly with the RCN and RCM, however, today's article on the BBC website is just crazy!

The RCN want to extend visiting hours in hospitals, which, on the surface seems like a good idea. Wards being more flexible for working mums and working around bigger time windows than the standard 2-4pm and 6-8pm (school closing time and kids bedtime).

This is not the idea for the change.

The idea is that patients' families will help care for them including feeding and taking them to the toilets.  I am sure most families would be willing to help their loved ones anyway, but what about those who don't have family or they live too far away or simply don't bother to visit?

Inevitably this is the sort of thing I'd expect the NHS, specifically the LHB's, to cook up and am completely confused as to why the RCN would suggest it? Surely they know this would be the slippery slope to less nursing staff e.g. auxillary nurses?

Whatever next?

Lynnette Spragg

Cocktails in Babylon .Gill Brightmore

This poem was 'triggered' , but not  'inspired' by my own so called 'treatment' on a mental health ward in SE Wales  between 2004-6  as well as  by the very moving, " The Day Room" by the poet  Kit Wright.


Clozapine  / Diazepam   / Effexor  / Olanazpine

The Radio in my head is playing   over & over
telling me this is -  The Final Count Down.
It clouds the windows of perception now chemically adulterated
here in    the suburban asylum.

The DJ appears to be the Doctor wearing a white coat    now dirty
speaking only in broken English he takes down the medical history
never making eye contact -  here on the Acute Ward.

The Morning Drug Trolley clatters in at 7.45 am down the green linoleum corridor
ready to discharge it's awful contents  lethal as Class A drugs  all freely available here
given out like so many brightly coloured Smarties by stony faced staff in dead silence
-  for we have no 'talking therapies' here : the health Minister does not think it suitable.

This is no Sweet Shop - the windows all have bars and cannot be opened
the air stale with the stench of nicotine hanging in a bright cloud above our heads
together with the smell of last night's supper and the scent of unwashed urine
here in - the Day Room - on the acute ward.

If we resist the threat of,  'deadly restraints' or ECT should we step out of line
or worse of all should we refuse our medication .

A drug can be prescribed for ever treatment - Borderline Personality Disorder / Clinical Depression /
Bi Polar / Schizophrenia or even  'challenging behaviour' our society cannot  tolerate
unless it is medicated to point of comatose hitting us straight to the cortex like a silver bullet
eliminating thought all processes ,

but the Radio in my head does not stop . . .
it is playing The Final Count Down over and over.

Here stranded in the Day Room my throat is parched my palms are sweating I am terrified here
alone behind locked doors not knowing what transgression
I have committed as no one speaks to us: here we are invisible sitting here on the
dirty sofas watching the  36 inch TV blaring out endlessly day & night
OT. is a choice of playing Bingo or listening to CD's  all organised by a fully paid up,
'mental health professionals':
It is hard to know the sane from the insane  sitting here in the Day Room
with  the Psychiatrist thinking he's God so we wait for the next humiliation to befall us
evicted  from life and even the security of our NHS beds
late at night we can be moved at random . . . to  some other place . .

Crackers  / Nuts / Looney / Bonkers  / Barking

Sitting on broken plastic chairs in the dining room at the sticky tables we await the tea trolley once again
staring out through grimy windows as the magnificent chestnut trees sway outside in in sympathy
for us scrabbling for the tepid tea poured from a broken pot before the milk is gone:
we dare not ask for more:

in the endless Day Room ...we await these  but  assured of our ,'recovery'

Metazapine  / Thorazine / Fluoxeitne  / Tamapazapam

Cocktails in Babylon,

but the Radio never stops . . .

@ G .K Brightmore       24/ 09/ 11

Friday, 23 September 2011

Maternity 'Services' in Wales

Firstly my thanks to Robin for allowing me to post on his blog - this is a fantastic page and I rarely disagree with your wise words.

Where Robin specialises in Mental Health issues, my love is Maternity care.  I led a campaign to save Llandough MLU from closure which gained a lot of support from people from all walks of life, however, as we're all aware, the Health Board had already made a decision on this and merely covered over their incompetence with a farcical 'public consultation' of which the outcome would never have been any different.

Are you aware that the Health Minister Lesley Griffiths has released a new document titled 'A Strategic Vision for Maternity Services in Wales' dated September 2011?

This document has given me a really good giggle... I must remember to thank her for that. Besides the laughs it really is a waste of paper.  Why? Let me give you a few examples;

  • One of the 'key themes for action is to 'promote healthy lifestyles for pregnant women which have a positive impact on them and their family’s health'.  I wonder then why the 'Health in Pregnancy' grant has been withdrawn for women 25+ weeks pregnant? This grant was specifically designed to help women afford fruit and vegetables in order to ensure a healthier lifestyle for them whilst pregnant, and thus their babies.
  • Another key theme - 'provide a range of high quality choices of care as close to home as is safe and
    sustainable to do so, from midwife to consultant-led services'. So in one breath we're providing choices but then in the very next we're only doing so if it is sustainable. Explain sustainable? Sustainable as in cost effective or sustainable as in enough staff to cover the necessary functions? Not really sure!
  • Another key theme which actually goes toward answering the above confusion - 'employ a highly trained workforce able to deliver high quality, safe and effective services' - so this means sustainable is indeed about money right? If they're going to ensure the staff are there and trained accordingly then we're basing choices on budgets.
  • So now we're into the 'advice' section - 'Alcohol - Advice for women planning a pregnancy is to avoid alcohol in the first 3 months' - all very well and good when you have a midwife booking you in and explaining this, oh wait, that was removed too! Now you don't see anybody until your first 'dating' scan at 10-12weeks (3 months!)
I could go on! It really is a barrel of laughs!

I would love to know who has advised her on this and whether she read it through before publishing it!

The good news is we're stuck with this Government for another 4 years, woohoo!

Lynnette Spragg

Staff are Vital to our Future and they are facing the same awful cuts as we are

I've just been reminded about how important it is that we don't lose sight of the excellent staff that support us in these times of uncertainty, and will continue to help us even though they, themselves, are facing the threat of cuts and inevitable job losses.  We may come to bitterly regret seeing some very good staff become victims of the cuts, which certainly won't help the cause of fighting for better services.  Improved services means better qualified staff and more of them ( please God ) so please be careful before you make any public criticisms of staff unless they are fully justified and supported by reliable testimony.  We may not like the fact that their managers support 'the corrupt system' that lies to us and misrepresents sham consultations, but this is not the fault of the staff in the wards, or the CMHTs, who we depend on for help. 

My fight has always been with the corrupt system that allows such lies and misrepresentations to take place and even be supported, when the Universally Inept Health Board decides to 'circle the waggons' and turn to the Minister and the government for the support that they know they can rely on.  After all, these dishonest sharlatans are only obeying government policy, which is solely concentrated on saving money, instead of honouring the original NHS commitment of Providing Health Care at the Point of Need.  This is the exact opposite of what are government are doing, with Rationalisation and Centralisation being the priority.  Also,indiviual politicians of all parties are primarily concerned with preserving their own high standards of living, whilst showing absolutely no sincere concern for the rest of us who may be reduced to subsistence. We have seen them disobey their own policies with impunity, but our complaints go unheeded.

My primary concerns have been with the fact that the vulnerable and the chronically ill are the ones being targeted first - e.g. The Elderley Mentally Infirm at Bryneithin and other specialist care homes, as well as the mentally ill of all ages, particularly those sufferring from the most acute illnesses.  This is ( to me ) extreme cowardice because they know that we are easy targets - either we are unable to fight back, or we are dismissed with statements that say as much as "Well, we mustn't lose sight of the fact they are Mentally Ill, in the first place".  This is the origin of the stigma we all have to live with - our minds may be 'out of kilter' due to accidents, physical illnesses, hereditary problems, or substance misuse, brought on by the culture of 'pleasure' that is cultivated in the minds of the young by criminals.  Stigma is enemy number one, and always will be, so don't forget that.  Enemy number two is the corrupt system that seeks to lie to us about losing our services, thereby denying us any involvement in the shaping of the future of our services. And be sure of only one thing, new policies are being introduced - without our involvement - that will prevent us getting proper advocay in the event of complaints.

Before I become as prolific a writer of meaningless pap as the incompetent UHB's Chief Executive, I better return to my original point, and that is - The Staff who deliver mental health services to us are Important, and we mustn't lose sight of the fact that the poor sods are more worried about losing their family incomes than we give proper consideration. Being unemployed these days carries its' own stigma and we must give thought to those who are suffering on negligible support from benefits. RW

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Hurricane 'Lesley' Sweeps away the Public Health Conference and Public Opinion

Our new Minister for Health and Social Security, is 'Hitting the ground' by stumbling along in the footsteps of her forerunners, sticking to the 'Party Line' during her speech to the Public Health Conference.  Hackneyed phrases like "Services will be improved, not downgraded" and "The final decision ( to approve Health Board proposals for 're-shaping health services' ) will be MINE !", and "Decisions will be made on a clinical and not a political basis."  On hearing that load of crap on the lunchtime news, I nearly barfed up my breakfast porridge and muffin.  We expect 'Rhetoric' from politicians but - really - must it always be the same meaningless, insincere garbage ?  I have come to the conclusion that women are made Ministers because they are incapable of original thought.  'Sucking up to the boss' is what they're best at, and to hell with the people that elected them to power. If there truly is a 'glass ceiling' holding more of these incompetent women down, I say - Hallelujah - God save us from the weak women who are incapable of original thinking.

After 11 long years of cuts to Mental Health Services, during which time 422 inpatient beds have already been lost since July 2002, and hospitals closed, do they really expect us to swallow this bilge ?  Surely not ?
Yet even Marcus Longley ( who I used to respect when we shared spaces on TV programmes criticising NHS services ), now 'Professor of Health Economics' at Glamorgan University, seeks to insult our intelligence with his outpourings of sycophantic drivel ( that probably got him the job in the first place ). Quite seriously, Lying, Stealing and Ass-Kissing have become the the major qualities required of a politician.

Meanwhile, the butter-wouldn't melt-in-my-mouth, Lesley Griffiths begins her 'new career' reading 'old scripts' from some 'Bureaucrat specialising in Bureaucrap' based at Cathays Park.  Clearly, she is incapable of original thought, and believes that if you keep making the same stupid mistakes, as your party political predecessors, then everything will come right in the end !  Steven King couldn't write such nightmare scripts.

Whilst waiting for the reports ( of which she has no idea at present - yeah right ), she tells us that "Changes are absolutely necessary" but neglects to tell us why, saying only that we had "Too many hospitals offering a general service, locally, instead of fewer specialist units that will be better for patients" - completely forgetting where they live, of course, and the logistical problems of getting patients and family to these 'Cure-all bastions of modern medicine'.  How comforting for people in Aberaeron to know that better, more specialised services await them in Cardiff - providing, of course, that that they live long enough to get there and be treated ?  It's hardly any wonder that we, in the Cardiff and the Vale, aren't any happier because we can't get on any waiting list any quicker than the poor sods in Aberaeron !

As I have said - to the point of boredom - there is no freaking planning by the incompetent ass-wipes at the Universally Inept Health Board.  And we are the mugs who pay for their mistakes with our money and our lives.  " Make the Patients Fit the Service" is the rule of law being applied throughout NHS Wales, and "Cut the Staff to Save on Overheads".  Hospitals can be sold at will to any developer passing out enough brown envelopes to choke a Swiss Banker.  To hell with 'right and 'wrong' and silly impediments like legal covenants on hospital land leases. "Make as much profit as you can by turning hospital land into housing developments".
Yes - it is bloody-well true - 'Money is the Root of all Evil', and this is the main motivation for all the changes that dear sweet Lesley Griffiths will blindly approve without any conscience or remorse at all.

Oh - I forgot - Lesley started her speech by saying something like "....after all, Wales WAS the cradle for the National Health Service".  The only undecided question is "Where will the Grave be located ?" dear Lesley.     R.W.

Friday, 16 September 2011 for Recovery but what do the letters C D stand for ?

The 14th September's Echo contained the supplement 'A to Z of Mental Health' ', but unsuprisingly the cuts and deterioration of our services - Inpatient and Day services - get's no mention, althouch 'C' is for Child and 'D' is for Drugs.  As far as my opinion extends, C. D. is for Cruel Deceipt, of all mental health service users for over 11 years with consistent, deliberate misrepresentation. from the athorities, i.e. the Government, NHS Wales, The Health Boards and even the managers of our services.  Every 'consultation' has been a joke, with no service user groups on the list of the 72 consultees used by our government.  "We know what's best for you" continues to be the only policy for the mentally ill, and other patients in general.  Poorly qualifed, inexperienced, over-paid, egotistical and uncaring men and women, DO NOT know what is best, yet they continue to occupy senior public positionss and make cuts to our services, whilst insulting our intelligence with fatuous comments that the service will be fit 'for purpose' - their purpose of course - to save money.  The need for mental health services is increasing with the growing population, none so dramatic as the exponential growth in the elderly and the Elderley Mentally Infirm.  These poor unsuspecting people have been the first of the 'cuts' list, with the only Elderley MentallyInfirm home, Bryneithin, and the only Rehab centre Pen-yr-Ynys  in the whole of the Vale of Glamorgan being scheduled for closure, regardless of need. No 'Needs Assessment' has been carried out, yet, the paid lackies at the Cardiff and Vale Mental Health Project, have the gall to deny the closure of Pen-yr-Ynys. in the face of written proof. .

Now we are told that "Recovery is the best model to follow" although no one has defined what the blazes this is supposed to mean.  The dictionary defines 'Recovery'  is 'A full return to the proper state of health, strength, stability', but this definition does NOT apply to the 'Recovery Approach' provided by our old 'friend' Phil Chick.  As the article also says that acute mental illnesses, such as Bi-Polar Manic Depression and Schizophrenia have 'no cure' so, how are patients to achieve the dictionary definition of 'Recovery' ?

The facts remain that it is increasingly difficult to access services that are ( remotely ) adequate for need.  For these eleven years, Mr Chick and his colleagues have consistently misled us whilst methodically reducing the numbers of beds, day services and access to mental health services.  In my opinion. Mr Chick ( who used to be the Government's Director of Mental Health ) has - in my opinion - yet to find the true level of his abilities,being a classic exampleof 'The Peter Principle'.  Many patients I know say "I'm now in Recovery" yet, sadly fall ill again as regularly as before.  The only difference is that now they are denied the inpatient care that thier illness treatment demands.  So 'R' is actually for 'Rhetoric' - defined in the same ditionary as "fine-sounding, but insincere and meaningless".

Friday, 9 September 2011

Another Blow to Mental Health Services in the Vale

At a time when our mental health services have been cut, rationalised and centralised to the point where all patients are ( in some way ) inconvenienced or denied services, further bad news is the last thing we need.  But, here it is - a slap in the 'Orchestra Stalls' that will have all Vale patients reeling in dismay - the announced intention to close the Rehabilitation Centre, Pen-Yr-Ynys on Barry Island.  Staff were informed earlier this week that  their jobs could not be guaranteed beyond the end of the current financial year. They were also informed that the sale of these two properties will make an essential addition to the public purse.  Isn't that a relief to us all ?? We all lose the only Rehabilitation Centre in the Vale so that some useless pillocks on the Cardiff and Vale Universally Inept Health Board can go on enjoying their fat-cat lifestyles. Of course, the 'Board's' uniquely talentless Deputy Chief Executive and Planning Director claims that this matter was included in the farcical public consultation held last year.  Of course, nothing could be further from the truth but then, after months of untruths and deliberate misrepresentation to mentally ill patients by this charlatan and his little helpers, why should we now be surprised to realise that he is a liar of the first water ?  So, there you have it - the truth and nothing but the truth as usual from me.

Of course, my critics will point out that this a mere bagatelle in the history of costly failings in NHS Wales, the Welsh Government and the Universally Inept Health Board.  Look at all the millions spent on orthopaedic services that were supposed to end the tortuous waiting periods for treatment - was this money well spent and,  did it achieve the desired effect ? Of course it bloody well didn't, anymore than the millions poured in by successive Health Ministers do anything to improve general waiting times for the long-suffering patients in other specialities ( that simply created a generation of 'figure fiddlers' ).  The list is really getting too much to bear - the GP contracts, the Consultant contracts, the Out of Hours contracts, the equal pay millions, the millions overspent on drgs and flu vaccines( unused ), the contract nursing costs, the costs of the numerous Out of Area placements of patients to England and other foreign parts - Is anyone out there taking note of all this, because this is your ruddy money being wasted, you complacent, apathetic fools ?!?

Yes, I'm wandering once more, from the tiny insignificant spec of essential services for the mentally ill that has now been lost after this deluge of incompetent spending.  Meanwhile, the new Health Minister and her boss, the First Minister continue to sit on their thumbs, doing 'Porthcawl' about the unstoppable destruction of our once great National Health Service. And WE voted them in by default !

Monday, 5 September 2011

Work Assessments for the Mentally ill - Don't Panic

The Work Capability Assessment Ordeal - the commonest cause of anxiety and distress amongst the mentally ill.

Please take an old man's advice - that of someone who is an advocate, offering FREE advice and help to ANYONE in need.  Allow me to sum up this Atos Work Capability Assessment, if I may be so bold ?

Having attended at least five of these 'assessments' lately, I can give you my qualified opinion that these tests are the most biased and unfair way of assessing your capability to work.  The most obvious first question to ask is "Where are all the job vacancies - just waiting to employ someone with a mental health problem, or any disability, in fact".  Obviously they aren't any, or they are already taken up by Poles ( in agriculture ) or other migrant workers who are prepared to work for less than the minimum wage, and have no intention of ever becoming 'British'.  The other problem is that you have huge ethnic groups - particularly those in Cardiff who wouldn't look out of place in Mogadishu - where the unemployment rate is in the working age groups is as high as 98%.  You have to ask yourself, "Are they getting the same work assessment test and being placed in jobs as a priority - or - even on equal terms with the mentally ill ???????   I suggest that the answer is a resounding 'NO', as the softest target is US - the mentally ill, and discriminating against us doesn't have a 'racist' label which prevents GENUINE equality.  Why ? ( I hear you ask ) Because your illness can't be seen, and also, the unqualified members of the Universally Inept Health Board ruled that "If a patient can walk from Whitchurch hospital into the village, he/she doesn't need a hospital bed; Any care he/she needs can be given ine the community; and, lastly - he/she is fit enough to work."  Thus they have climbed the Everest of stupidity, having no knowledge of Psychiatric treatment..

The test itself is so biased, my first client was asked "Are you able to move that box of tissues... ( on the desk ) ?"  I told my client not to answer.  Instead, I asked the nurse ( we're being assessed by a nurse ? ), "Are you conducting an assessment based on the physical or mental health of my client, and, are you sufficiently qualified to conduct either type of assessment ?"  The reply, " I just ask the questions on the computer screen and fill in the answers."  What an outrageously biased and unscientific system.  Without boring you ( as usual ), this test has no genuine legitimacy or legal obligation on ANYONE, because it is ( simply ) as bent as a butcher's hook in its' bias towards concluding that EVERYONE, regardless of mental or physical disability is fit for SOME kind of work is just plain stupidity.  What type of work ?  Where are the jobs ?  I haven't a ruddy clue, and neither will you.  ( Perhaps 'Big Brother', or a similar type of moron, knows ? )

My advice - take someone with you and do not answer any 'closed' questions ie. that require only a yes or no answer.  Until the tests are fair and agreed by the patients as being so, and conducted by a qualified consultant in Psychiatry, thay are invalid, being a charlatan's way of tricking you into something you don't understand, or don't accept for the inequity.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

All Hail the Clown Prince of the Community Health Council of Health Lap-Dogs, Cardiff Pound

I couldn't resist looking over the shoulder of a fellow campaigner who managed to acces a copy of a letter sent to a member of our Welsh Government by the 'Chief Officer' of Cardiff CHC, no less. He ( for the purposes of not 'naming and shaming' a man who has been, and still is,  the subject of much justifiable ridicule ) was responding to the widely voiced complaint about their being no answer to the question, "What is to happen to the patients of Whitchurch Hospital during the 4 years ( at least ) before the new inadequate Mental Health Unit is to be completed at Llandough". The honourable member of government was pressing him for details of the care to be given the poor souls left to rot - for lack of proper services - in the ancient Victorian Asylum, during the ensuing period before transition to the ( supposedly ) 'fit for purpose' wards will be opened. However, I digress from letter to the A.M. that was sent by the Clown Prince of the Cardiff CHC.  This letter was the most arrogant, ignorant and deliberately evasive load of meningless, insincere, dissmissive, crap that I have ever had the misfortune to read.  Even though I have known this imbecile for years I never thought him capable of stringing five words together to make a sentence, let alone write such bureacratic gobbledeygook.

The A.M offered to take the matter up with the Minister herself ( which any reasonable person would think should be an automatic reaction to the uncertainty heaped of mental health patients by the Universally Inept Health Board and their lap-dogs the fawning CHC.  Their Chief Officer ( surely a joke appointment ) should have responded respectfully and in detail to the questions put by the A.M and accepted the offer of more help.  Yet, this arrogant, poppinjay, caricature of a Chief anything, writes with the same contempt as he shows to the poor patients he is supposed to represent by refusing to answer the question and refusing the offer of help. In my opinion he should be replaced immediately with a replica Pinnochio doll, complete with strings connected to the Universally Inept Health Board. The patients need, and demand, answers to how they will be cared for at Whitchurch over the next four years.  The Health and Social Services Minister should act immediately to allay the fears of these vulnerable citizens.  She should then dismantle the useless incompetent, blatantly dishonest Community Health Councils whose actions reflect so badly on our government and the citizens of Wales.