Last year, following the case of “Deprival of Medication, Community Care” I was taken to Court of Protection at short notice, which was very traumatic and stressful for Elizabeth and myself. That was over a year ago now and the outcome was that she could remain at home and had capacity to decide on this herself. The reason things came to court was Elizabeth’s reluctance and inability to effectively communicate well with the team and she did not want to speak to them which I feel was quite understandable. She had been in the most coercive environments during that three year period. How can a fair capacity assessment be undertaken when someone is on the verge of withdrawal from the drug Clozapine, having been left without it for several days by a team of professionals who were intent on returning her back to care hundreds of miles away from home and family which they thought to be in her best interest. In addition, the question of contact was also raised ie., with whom did she want contact with. Now that I have jointly acquired the files with Elizabeth I can see the full truth – how can someone be expected to manage on £30 per week, having been in care for three years or so. Elizabeth blames herself for this and that she had no food at the weekend. I do not – I blame “care” that allows such things to go on and expects someone to be able to just get on with everything as they once could have but now on large amounts of mind altering drugs, this makes thinking quite difficult at times but by that of course I mean every day chores and it is vital that someone on a lot of drugs has the correct nutrition and this is the kind of help the vast majority of MH patients living in the community need rather than maximum amounts of mind altering drugs.
So the Court case ended and we were left to assume there would be a further court case or possibility of. There was no such thing at all and we heard nothing and then by the end of the year we finally got to hear there would be no further case. My reaction was mixed, one of relief and my other thoughts turned to Elizabeth – what had been achieved. She had a report from an Independent Psychiatrist which, apart from the fact she has capacity, this was not a good report in many ways and contained numerous errors which I quite rightly pointed out.
Anyway, you get nowhere by complaining to solicitors who offer a nominal monetary goodwill gesture but it is not the money that is important here it is the principle. Expenses for Elizabeth should have been the prime consideration and also altering of the report by the independent psychiatrist that contained a massive mistake in terms of “Applicant which I straight away noticed and pointed out to the solicitors. An independent psychiatrist is appointed jointly by solicitors and Council and I think this should have been corrected but instead the solicitors said that the main thing was that it said she had capacity however I want everything to be correct and 100% accurate as it should be.
The advice given from the solicitors to Elizabeth I thought was very questionable.
Anyway, I thought at least the fares should have been paid and expenses if nothing else as I had to pay for counselling for Elizabeth who suffers from Agoraphobia and was required to attend court on the fifth floor. So all of this was a huge ordeal for her to go through. A goodwill gesture of a small amount of money is not a goodwill gesture when the fares and court expenses should have been dealt with in the first place. So, I took my complaint to the Legal Ombudsman who thought the solicitors acted fairly and that the goodwill gesture was the only thing left to offer. Typical of the kind of response you get when you put forward a complaint and how a major organisation such as this can protect and take the side of solicitors and does not consider properly the vulnerable person concerned. I think that this matter should go to the top and there should be transparency within the court system. I admire Sir James Munby for wishing to see such transparency. Whilst this may considered a trivial issue I would disagree as, unless there is accountability, nothing will ever change in a system that treats the weak, vulnerable and disabled in the most disgraceful manner. I have therefore written to Sir James Munby as I think there are many lessons to be learned by this case and reports should be altered certainly not at any further cost to the public but at the expense of who has made such an error and who has refused to do anything about it. A report such as this must have cost £1000 or even more considering the home visit to meet Elizabeth. When a report has a major error on it then this should be altered but the Ombudsman disagree.
Anyway, since that court case after sixteen months, Elizabeth is reliant on close friends and family to take her out. She has not been given any kind of funding for support, despite the huge local budget in terms of the Better Care Fund, not to mention the saving of £60000, per annum – the cost of the care home.
There is nothing further I can do but await the response from Sir James Munby himself as all vulnerable people should be entitled to their expenses for court and not discriminated against. After Elizabeth did not ask to be taken to court.
Last week we had a visit from the Consultant Psychiatrist, as already mentioned in my previous blog and Elizabeth has just received a letter from him. This letter copies in everyone except for us, the family, despite the fact that Elizabeth has given her consent. I have made a point today to correct the address wrongly recorded in the heading and to point out that there is not just me as next of kin. Lets be fair about this – everyone closely involved in the care should be “next of kin” and there should be no favouritism. The only way I could ever trust a professional again is through Open Dialogue having seen the full extent of what certain people have been saying/doing behind our backs. I have also written to the Chief Executive and made a point of copying in everyone including the GPs and all the next of kin.
On a brighter note I have just returned from fabulous Belgium (Brugges) and this has been a fabulous break. Next time I would like to take Elizabeth not just to Brugges but to Geel which I have read so much about. At least there they have the right attitude to those who have MH conditions.
Elizabeth is currently out with one of the carers today which gives me a chance to catch up on work at home.
Now I am back from a fabulous break I have more enthusiasm and energy to deal with all of this.