Wednesday, 11 June 2008

That complaint....

It is still with the Healthcare Commission. And that's OK. It will get done when it gets done. Waiting and not knowing is hard for me, but I am coping with the inevitability of this wait. I knew it would be a long one.

I was musing on this (briefly!) as a result of receiving the information I have been awaiting. I'm grateful that I have received it - I must say that. It has been suggested that my wishing for this information is A BAD THING. The implication is that I have not moved on, because I am still seeing information. It was said that this would "not bring healing". Actually, the person who said that was wrong. The reason they were wrong was simple.

That person is not me.

For me, as I said in an earlier post, knowledge is key and knowledge brings security. This is because my childhood was marked by not knowing and, at the same time, needing to know. Knowing brought a sense of security. If I knew what was likely to happen, I could plan for it. It didn't matter how bad the event was, just knowing about it meant I could think it through. I'm still the same now. If I know something is going to happen, that feels much safer to me than dreading that something undefined might happen.

So, this knowledge (of some of the things which were going on behind the scenes at the end of last year) has brought a sense of safety. Sure, some of the things are not nice. Some of them sadden me. I know that some of the people I trust(ed) have feet of clay. That's not such a bad thing; a necessary discovery. I know that some people who were supporting me in many ways were also saying things about me that they did not say to me. But that's OK. It's better than not knowing, and wondering.

The information, despite the efforts of those who have worked hard to provide me with it, is partial. It has to be - obtaining a full picture would require too much effort, too much time. Its incompleteness too is OK. It gives a flavour, a sense of what was happening. A sense of the way in which I was one tiny cog caught up in a very complex machine. Or possibly a tiny ball as in this image (click here to go to the animated version, which I could happily watch for a long time, though the music drives me mad after a few seconds.) I could pursue more information regarding the things which were written about me, but I know have enough of that type of information. Nothing I have read changes my opinion of what happened.

What am I hoping for?
I'd like an apology for the letters I was sent, which I still believe were appalling. I don't think I will ever get that apology.
I'd also like (as the complaints policy outlines) explanation of why things went wrong. I know they did go wrong, but I don't understand why. No explanation, for example, has ever been given as to why I was refused a change of care coordinators, especially when that request was supported by the clinician who had had most contact with me.

What I would also (and most importantly) like is identification by BLPT of the ways in which things have changed to ensure that what happened to me doesn't happen to others. I learnt (from reading BLPT Trust Board Minutes) that there was a recommendation that two additional members of staff were employed within one CMHT - as a result of a complaint. I'm currently trying to find out whether that has been actioned. But I have never been informed of that recommendation, and if I had that would have helped. It would also have reinforced their declaration that the absence of support was purely a reflection of the lack of staff.
I would like the new Complaints Policy to have identified who should be responsible for investigating a complaint, to ensure that nobody else was in the position of having their complaint "investigated" by the people complained about. Needless to say, it doesn't do this.
I would like to have information about steps taken to ensure that when a service user requests a change of CMHT (for good reason in my case) that request is actioned, not refused. Particularly when other mental health professionals agree with the user that this is a sensible course of action.
I would like to know what is going to be done to deal with the poor standard of record keeping in some CMHTs. My current CMHT have shown me what good practice is. How are all CMHTs to be held to account and "encouraged" to follow agreed procedures?

Two changes were identified and actioned. One was the incorrect contact details on the website; the other was the way in which my valid requests for information were initially refused, in contravention of the Freedom of Information act. It's been interesting to read how seriously these were taken. The swift action of those who knew what they were talking about with regard to information, and who provided me with copies of the policies I requested, was the only thing which stopped me from making an official complaint to the Information Commissioner.

Yes, information is key. As I said from the start, nothing can change the disastrous effects of the way M, MW and others treated me. Until I am informed about the steps taken to change patterns of behaviour, I will continue to speak out. That is a direct result of the way their system treated me. If they had treated me as a person with intelligence, with feelings and with needs, rather than as an unintelligent useless mentally ill person, then I wouldn't be taking the time to hold them to account now.


The Shrink said...

You're absolutely right that we all should be treated as people within health services, not as nuisances with conditions.

Hope it's resolved soon!

Disillusioned said...

Thank you, Shrink.

I am now being treated as a person - and it makes a massive difference.

Resolution - not sure if it will be, it's more me moving on I suppose.