Reading my complaints file has made me more aware of the activity going on behind the scenes in "managing" me and my complaint.
As I said to someone yesterday, if some of the effort put into "managing" the situation had gone into answering my queries (instead of ignoring them), the whole situation could have been resolved relatively easily by BLPT. Instead, huge amounts of time have been spent by people who have never met me deciding how best to "handle" me, preparing reports (which are about me but which do not exist in the Complaints file or in any centralised records relating to me, as far as I can see) and in telling others not to respond to my appeals for help.
I'm very very concerned by the amount of information which appears to be floating around in "the system" about me - but which is not centralised or recorded in any accountable fashion. I'm curious about how the demands of the Data Protection Act fit into this behaviour. I'm actually quite horrified that two senior members of staff were asked to prepare a report about me which was presented (in secret) to the Trust Board (albeit, allegedly, in anonomised form) - and yet neither of these two members of staff had had any direct contact with me. Instead I assume they relied on the opinions of others. These "others" presumably included people who had not followed the Trust's own complaints policy and who had, in many cases, lied about their own actions and words.
From the Complaints file, it is now clear that M (BE CMHT manager) gave at least four different reasons for not providing me with support when my care coordinator was away ill. These range from there being insufficient staff in her department, to my not being a priority for allocation, to me not deserving continued support because I had already been provided with support in the past.
My verdict is that M was antagonistic to me from the start because the decision of her CMHT not to provide me with any support initially was overruled after I managed to obtain a psychological assessment with a consultant clinical psychologist who was not attached to her team. Evidence in terms of her attitude to me in phone calls, breaks in support and delays in providing support despite exhortations to do so from staff within the Trust supports this view. She probably was heading a team which was short of staff, but did not appear to highlight the shortfall in service to someone in need as she should have done. I remain convinced that she discriminated against me because of my earlier complaint, and that the Trust has decided to ignore this because the consequences of acknowledging it would impact upon them. They would rather leave me to deal with the consequences of being invalidated. M's main strategy seems to be one of changing her story - it's a recurring theme...
Another M (this one the local manager) lied about his communications with me. He too was unwilling to provide me with support. He has relied on asserting his point of view and implying that mine is unreliable because I am a "service user". However, I know what he said, the Complaints Manager knows what he said and what she said (and wrote to me) and his version of events does not tally with either of these (though he is very good at presenting only part of the truth and ignoring other parts, such as the fact that my psychologist told me his suggestion of a transfer of my care to another CMHT had been refused). M is also very good at fudging dates. Selective recall seems to be his main strategy.
Considerable weight seems to have been placed in my Complaints file on the fact that I approached a number of people for help. It has been implied that I can therefore be classed as a "vexatious complainant". However, what is ignored in this judgement of me is that I only approached further sources for help after the initial or routine approaches were refused or not responded to. So, when the local manager, M, told me my care would not be transferred, I appealed to his line manager. When he told me I had to wait for a response to my complaint (which I had been told would take 25 days, I understood this to mean that there would be no transfer of care until my complaint was answered and sent an email to members of the Trust board and anyone else I had contact with within the Trust, because I did not know who else I could ask. My actions were not an attempt to confuse matters or to get attention for myself, they were an attempt to solve an unbearable situation when those who should have resolved it were refusing to do so. Similarly in other situations.
And, of course, BLPT did not follow its own Complaints Policy. This has been partially acknowledged. It appears (from Trust Board minutes) that the Complaints Policy itself is being rewritten. That's all well and good - but the main question is surely not what is in the policy, but whether it is being followed.
Obviously I believe I am in the right. The Trust appears to believe they are in the right. That's understandable. But the Complaints notes reveal an awful lot of behind the scenes activity, which suggest to me a desire to cover things up and shut me up, rather than an attempt to help me and resolve the situation.
I guess I have to wait now and see what (if anything) the HCC decide - sometime within the next 6 months. It's taken me a long time to be able to move on to that stage of the process. The CEO referred to this delay in an email, saying that "for some reason" I had not taken this step. It's not that I didn't want to or intend to - just that I have been so damaged by the actions of BLPT I was unable to do so.
And I am not forgetting the good people in all this. I've been at pains to acknowledge, here and in contact with representatives of the Trust, what a positive difference certain individuals have made. But they have been fighting an uphill battle, and they have been in the minority. So many people seem to have been primarily concerned with fighting their own corner or protecting the "Trust". But then, why does BLPT exist? What is supposed to be its purpose?