Today I’m am very happy – it’s Mother’s Day in the UK. What better gift could I have but my daughter Elizabeth being home again after so many years. I’ve been thinking today of all the mothers and people who have relatives currently held prisoner under the cruel MH system of the UK, a system that you cannot easily get them out of. The public are unaware of this as it is not being reported. I am in touch with many people in this sad situation where sons/daughters are sent hundreds of miles away – in some cases they are not allowed phones to stay in contact. The way families are treated is terrible in the UK and when I have spoken to such parents they are heartbroken – many cannot afford to visit very often, bearing in mind distance. It was not easy for me – Elizabeth was sent to Wales and you cannot just get in the car and drive down for the day there. Not only was it expensive but there was not one ounce of help in terms of advocacy. Once someone is moved away from home and family, they are put in a situation where there is strict control in a coercive environment. The patients are not cases where they have killed someone, they are cases where someone cannot cope in the community and need extra help. The mothers and families are people who care and are desperately unhappy. The Government pays only £61.35 for Carers Allowance under a hospital thousands of pounds are being spent a week. Under a care home £1150 per week. I do not know how much extra it is to put someone on a CTO in order to force them to take drugs for the rest of their lives. All of this is going on whilst A&Es and maternity units and other things that affect everyone are being cut under the NHS.
I am getting more and more letters and have spoken to several parents/husbands etc who are at their wits end. I am finding that what I was faced with is commonplace.
The other area where huge sums of money being wasted is under the legal sector.
If you are a Nearest Relative you can overturn a section. First of all the patient has a Tribunal – quite often this will fail. As the Nearest Relative you can appoint solicitors paid for by legal aid at this level. You have to go through a Manager’s Hearing first but at the Manager’s Hearing they refused to release the files to my solicitors. This did not go ahead. I meanwhile had arranged with a nicer psychiatrist who was covering duties for tests to be done for Dr William Walsh. I had arranged for these tests to be carried out at the Bio Lab and of course they came back showing significant decline in terms of physical health. Tests such as these are not cheap and the team are quick to dismiss them as they do not care about physical health and like to concentrate on maximum drugging. So Elizabeth said she was unhappy – eventually an independent psychiatrist was appointment – the choice being that of the Nearest Relative. Being so drugged up in this private sector hospital, not seeing the family regularly, it was difficult for things to progress quickly. Elizabeth’s solicitor should have visited her and helped her but I did not think that was the case. Things just became long and drawn out and the more correspondence involved the more expense at all at public expense. This is where the money is going.
Under the Court of Protection where a Council can deprive liberty stating the patient to have no capacity, you get no representation in court. It costs about £800-£900 a week if you have a job and home to provide your own solicitor. I do not think it is a fair system at all. For a family to have a child or vulnerable person taken away is terrible and so is it terrible for families to have someone stuck in the system when the parents are decent and care – in instances where the patient may have reacted badly to drugs in the past and I am talking about prescribed drugs. Not everyone has taken illicit drugs to get themselves into the situation of being admitted to acute wards. Not everyone has abusive parents. Most have suffered some form of trauma and being on a noisy overcrowded ward is untherapeutic and can affect someone’s behaviour. I never want to see Elizabeth back on any acute wards again as I know these are places where psychiatrists dish out drugs at huge levels and I can see that this kind of place just resulted in Elizabeth becoming worse. Since being home, her behaviour has been completely normal but disabled due to being on last resort Clozapine which is far from a wonder drug in my opinion. I have read the files of shocking content with Elizabeth who has a right to know. Even past history recorded in the files is wrong. The words “hostile” and “aggressive” are frequently used out of context – when something goes wrong this is covered up – if you complain or show any kind of emotion you get labelled yourself. Never have I ever threatened violence to the team but that does not stop them from labelling you as they so wish. There are things missing and other things I did not expect to find amongst the files. I have requested certain papers that are missing and have been refused them. To get rid of a Nearest Relative can be a convenient way of covering things up when there are serious things to hide.
Taxpayer’s money is being wasted, vulnerable people are kept for years on end incarcerated in hospitals and care homes. They are being drugged excessively and end up being disabled.
If the Government were to give more money to individual carers that would be good but £61.35 does not compare with the cost of a care home or private sector hospital for instance. Diabetes is a condition caused by the drugs, Parkinsons disease and blood disorders. I suppose keeping someone away from their families is a way of safeguarding themselves for when things go wrong. If someone does become injured as a result of care the legal profession does not want to know. I do not think the legal profession is treating vulnerable patients fairly – it is wrong that a hospital should recommend either advocates or solicitors.
I do not think it fair that there is no legal aid representation at higher level in courts especially in cases such as Deprivation of Liberty and severing of contact with a family member.
I think the complaints system is wrong as I have seen at first hand how they investigate themselves. Who is going to question these professionals when they stick together like glue and make you out to be a terrible person all behind your back.
The Council has cut funding for the local Carers Centre but they have no end of funding for “special” cases – “go in twos – report everything that mother says”. All this, when there are some people who would like attention.
I wish we had a fairer system in the UK such as Open Dialogue.
I wish we had a National Metabolizing Scheme – it is all very well saying “risk to self or others” being the criteria for release from section but most important of all, underlying physical health problems are ignored – if someone is chronic treatment resistant – this means poor or non metabolizer – the treatment being given could be doing more harm than good and only experts who are familiar with the drugs themselves should be allowed to prescribe them. I was appalled that doctors had not heard of the tests I wanted to have done (P450 liver enzyme) and I came to the conclusion that many were not up to date with their knowledge. What do they know about adverse drug reactions ?- drugging of patients is being done as a means of convenience/control with total disregard for physical health. They are driven by blind ideology. Many do not even know how the drugs work. To prove capacity under Court of Protection once again an independent psychiatrist is appointed – must cost thousands for a report to be prepared on top of the court fees. The correct regimen for administering psychopharmaceutical medication is by titrating to a minimum therapeutic dose, not only to protect the patient but to reduce the cost of treatment.
Degrading treatment against mental health human rights seems to be commonplace. The withholding of drugs is in breach of Article 3.
Kucheruk v Ukraine (2007) ECHR No. 2570/04 6 December – lack of adequate medical treatment and lack of adequate investigation into the applicant’s complaints of ill-treatment. (The person investigating the complaint passes it to the department the complaint is against, the complaint is investigated by themselves) all of this very relevant in Elizabeth’s case.
Being at home has meant that I can share all the nice things with Elizabeth such as wonderful shows and we went to see the brilliant show “Once” last night which we both enjoyed. We have seen two other shows recently and I want to go and see “Beautiful” again. Yesterday we met with former patients and today we have been to the cinema to watch the sequel of Marigold Hotel – a very good film.
It is cheaper to pay more Carers Allowance than put someone in care and more thought should be given to this by the Government.