Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I’m Just No Jack in the Box

Sometimes the feeling of suffocation comes over me when I consider how imposed central government NHS services do not allow clinicians to breathe. Let's consider Jack, a young man who was admitted to hospital in delirium tremens (colloquially, the DTs). He admitted to drinking one and a half bottles of vodka per day and was also a heroin (opiate) addict. In the immediate short term, he could be detoxed on a medical ward. However, next came the problem.

He wanted to stop his addiction cycle. The medical profession also wanted to help him achieve this. However, the alcohol rehabilitation service is only contracted to treat alcohol addicts, not opiate addicts. And the opiate rehabilitation service is only contracted to treat opiate addicts, not alcohol addicts. The government has set up services within rigid boxes. But, just as Jack personifies, patients will never fit your boxes Mr Brown!


CalumCarr said...


"Rigid boxes" with brick walls.

We've been in them. We've hit our heads off them.

But ... I think that there is more at fault than funding and structure. We have found mental health provision to be cold, uncaring, lacking all compassion and understanding and to be unwilling to be open about their diagnoses and prognoses.

My blog is full of our difficulties: obviously presented from our side only.

Dr Michelle Tempest said...

I'm sorry to hear that you've found the mental health provision lacking compassion. It may be a challenging specialty, but working with the patient should be central.