Sunday, April 29, 2007

Thought of the Week - Has This Also Happened in your Area?

This week the 'Dr Crippen diaries' questioned psychiatry health provision. This blog post is dedicated to looking back at some of the local provision of psychiatry services. Although, I am not aware of this local story ever breaking into the national papers; I suspect similar cuts to mental health provision are mirrored in other areas. For reasons that will be obvious from the text, I am not going to comment on these issues, but merely offer the links and some of the text, as reported in the local rag (Cambridge Evening News):

Only last week the latest report highlighted the scale of the mental health crisis in Cambridgeshire, “when the figures showed that the county's specialist trust has lost almost one in five dedicated hospital beds in just two years.” Local MP Andrew Lansley said: "These figures demonstrate in the clearest terms the pressure that we know mental health services in our NHS are under…While the number of people sectioned has hit its highest level in history, the NHS financial crisis is forcing the closure of mental health beds throughout the country.”

Looking at older reports, “Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt chose to back £3 million cuts” to the local mental health services, despite “a House of Commons debate… in an attempt to stop the cuts” and despite “hundreds of protesters” who “marched through Cambridge to oppose savage cuts to mental health and other NHS services.” Reports went onto say “Patricia Hewitt has ignored the opinions of every organisation concerned with the provision of health care by the City of Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire Primary Care Trusts” including the saddest fact of all, that “patients will be let down by savage reductions in mental health services.”

And let's not forget the report when MP David Howarth "launched a furious attack on mental health chiefs who have tried to "gag" staff." After a "letter" had "been sent to all employees of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust demanding that they do not contact the media.” This followed on from a letter signed by “27 consultant psychiatrists" who wrote "about the plans to strip £3 million from the local mental health budget”.


Anonymous said...

Did that really happen and I just heard nothing about it... that stinks!

David Anthony said...

You have to wonder why funds are being cut when record amounts of money is going into the NHS. Where is all the money going??

On a serious note, why is mental health provision always at the bottom of the list when it comes to funding? Is it more to do with unawareness of mental illness or just seen as an easy fund to cut back on?

Dr Michelle Tempest said...

Thanks anon and David. Unfortunately mental health is seen as a cinderella service and often the service users don't have a loud political voice. It's a great shame. Thanks. Michelle

QUASAR9 said...

Hi Michelle, before I comment
it would help to know what these £3million cuts entail - could you be more specific.

PS - So the ban doesn't apply to you. Or is blogging not considered media?

If you think that the Trust will use a letter to gag doctors
think what the Trust would do to discredit any patient that wants to make a complaint.

The las time I asked Addenbrooke's Trust, they insisted they had only had three complaints in ten years. I wonder if all other complaints got lost in the shuffle to secure Foundation Trust status.

Dr Michelle Tempest said...

Hi Quasar9 - Addenbrookes Hospital hospital has FT status. I'm not sure the mental health trust has FT status. As for the £3 million, the newspaper reports have detailed the cuts and the wards/beds which have closed as a result. This blog was reporting how many local issues never get into the national press, even though similar tales may be happening everywhere.

Anonymous said...

Here in Huddersfield we have lost most mental health beds, they are moving 20 miles away to the pfi hospital yet to be built in Wakefield. In the meantime the MHT is "lodging" all the acute female patients in a private hospital in Bradford @£500 a night.They have moved male acute in with the psycho geneatrics, mainly female, and are selling off the site which belongs to the acute trust, so they can pay the rent on the pfi in Halifax.Meanwhile the purpose built mental health facility at the Halifax pfi stands empty and is to "let". I know this sounds complicated and ridiculous, but it is true. We got a petition up in 2006 with 50,000 signatures, that's more than 1in3 of the local population, we took it no10, but they have still gone ahead.

Dr Michelle Tempest said...

Thanks anonymous, so it has also happened in your area. Sorry to hear that. Michelle

Anonymous said...

I've read about this too in the CEN, it is truly shocking, but is there any part of the country that isn't suffering the same way?

Dr Michelle Tempest said...

Thanks Ellee - I guess not - but it's when you add up the figures it makes for very scary reading! Michelle

Anonymous said...

Michelle you will be interested to know that Mental Health services have improved significantly. I know because Tony Blair said so today: I have blogged on it HERE, but would be interested in your view