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Mental health service cuts without consulations

Posted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 3:03 pm
by A_1611
I am a next of kin a sibling who suffers from schizophrenia and is currently living in supported accommodations in the community.

The health trust which was responsible for providing the care staff have decided to withdraw their services and given notice to the Council, who pay for the the service.

I found out the Council, and without any consultation with either the families or my sibling had tendered and awarded the contract to a private firm/charity. This is despite reaching many months before, when we first heard about potential service changes, to be involved and consulted.

We feel most vulnerable people in society are being targeted for service cuts without taking into account their views. We feel they are being seen as easy wins as many don't have required comprehension levels required to understand the impact of the changes and most are disconnected from their own families who may have advocated for them.

We aren't against the changes perse. The Council is keen on stressing that these are good changes and funding levels remain the same. What we fundamentally are opposed to pushing through such changes without any consultation. We wanted to put across our concerns and interrogate the changes proposed, which include removal of dedicated mental health nurse from each shared dwelling and removal of NHS care staff and replacing them with possibly zero-hours contact staff which can lead to high staff turn over, compared to current staff who have been there anything from 15 to 50 years, meaning staff knew patients and families very well.

We fear the underlying reasons are one to do with achieving savings and they thought they could easily achieve it without any hassle against the mentally ill.

I can't tell you how angry we are.

We put through a complaint to the Council. I really doubt the complaint is going to change anything. They might just say sorry and "lesson learnt".

Has anyone else experienced above or something similar?

Thanks

Re: Mental health service cuts without consulations

Posted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 5:00 pm
by MrsAverage
You might be interested in read in up in the sad case of Richard Handley who sadly died after his care home was changed to supported living, i.e. costs were cut.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/201 ... nstipation

However I don't think that families etc have any rights to be consulted in changes once someone is in
SS or NHS 'care' and being funded by the authorities . It is a grey area and I'm not aware of any legislation . It would be a nice practice for families, but realistically a nightmare for the SS/NHS.

If the Richard Handley case had had a different outcome then things might have started to change

Re: Mental health service cuts without consulations

Posted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 5:41 pm
by A_1611
MrsAverage,
I am aware of Richard Handley case and I fear my sibling will have similar ending. My brother need a lot of one to one support. For example the other day I asked him to put deodoran on and he used shaving gel instead! He needs to be cooked for and this company is all about independence.

Re: Mental health service cuts without consulations

Posted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 6:17 pm
by bowlingbun
Under the Care Act, the caree has a right to an advocate. This must be arranged for him/her.

Re: Mental health service cuts without consulations

Posted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 6:51 pm
by MrsAverage
A_1611 wrote:
Wed Feb 14, 2018 5:41 pm
MrsAverage,
I am aware of Richard Handley case and I fear my sibling will have similar ending. My brother need a lot of one to one support. For example the other day I asked him to put deodoran on and he used shaving gel instead! He needs to be cooked for and this company is all about independence.
I have a relative in need of support. So far over past 10 or so years that has varied from (not in order): mental hospital on section (twice), large group home, independent flat, supported bed sit, now in small home of 4 with 1to1
Some of the placements we have argued about before, some during and one still have serious formal complaint going on years after. Even though the current placement seems to be ok we are aware it or fudning may change at any time.

Best thing you can do for your relative is visit regularly to check, monitor and fight, then fight some more. It is exhausting, and should be unnecessary

As BB says an advocate is helpful, even solicitors, as authorities listen to them when they ignore family

You need to ask for up to date need assessment then to show how (or how not) this change fits

Not a good situation I know

Kr
MrsA

Re: Mental health service cuts without consulations

Posted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 10:15 pm
by Melly1
Hi A,
It does sound like a worrying, cost saving exercise, replacing a dedicated MH nurse and NHS staff with agency care staff.

Is there to be overlap and shadowing of old staff with new?

Does the new agency have experience of supporting people with MH conditions?

I agree with Mrs A, re frequency of unannounced visits etc

Melly1

Re: Mental health service cuts without consulations

Posted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 5:51 pm
by A_1611
Hi Molly,
The full time Mental Health nurse is being removed from the supported accommodation to be based at nearby hospital. Apparently all the care workers will be trained in dealing with mental health issues and can always call the mental health nurse when extra support is needed.

Regarding current NHS staff, initially I was told they will have one year before they have to either switch contracts to the new company called Hestia or leave. Now am told is just two or three months before they have to choose, which is extremely short. I suspect new contracts will be zero-hours with no holiday, sick pay or good pension. So am expecting high staff turn over which is no good as invested a lot of time getting to know current staff. Also no good for my brother because he had to start all over again and could be dealing with different faces regularly.

Mrs Average suggesting regular unannounced visits which sounds like a good idea.

Re: Mental health service cuts without consulations

Posted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 5:58 pm
by A_1611
bowlingbun wrote:
Wed Feb 14, 2018 6:17 pm
Under the Care Act, the caree has a right to an advocate. This must be arranged for him/her.
Can I act as his advocat? He doesn't pay me for care or anything so there should be no concerns about conflict of interest. Also if he is asked, he wouldn't object to me to act as his advocate but he has very limited understanding what it means anyway.


UPDATE: I was just reading through this link http://www.advocacyforall.org.uk/careact.php and it sounds like my brother doesn't qualify for an advocate since there is an "appropriate" pertain to support him and put across his wishes i.e. Myself. Am I correct or misunderstanding something.

Re: Mental health service cuts without consulations

Posted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 9:36 pm
by bowlingbun
Get an advocate for yourself and one for your son. I don't like to say too much about my background here, but I am very capable, but still have an advocate to "get my voice heard". Best of all, I won't attend meetings without him so I have an independent witness to what was said. I have been to meetings in the past where social workers have said one thing to my face and something entirely different in their notes, which I could read when I made a "Subject Access Request".

Re: Mental health service cuts without consulations

Posted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 8:35 am
by A_1611
bowlingbun wrote:
Fri Feb 16, 2018 9:36 pm
Get an advocate for yourself and one for your son. I don't like to say too much about my background here, but I am very capable, but still have an advocate to "get my voice heard". Best of all, I won't attend meetings without him so I have an independent witness to what was said. I have been to meetings in the past where social workers have said one thing to my face and something entirely different in their notes, which I could read when I made a "Subject Access Request".
Good idea. I will apply for one myself. Thank you.

Also, got a letter back from head of adult social services to my complaint about not including families and carers in the "consultations". He apologised for that and said will do better in future.

But says they did happen with the "service users" in the presence of an independent advocacy group. When I asked staff where my siblings live, whether such visits have taken place, they said they were unaware, and am not surprised, because they would normally let me know of any meetings taking place, like annual review, in case I wanted to attend.