[Update to original blog post about new-build IPCU]
from Fife Herald 26 December 2014
Email response to my questions about £1.4m and patient/carer involvement in design plans, from Dr Brian Montgomery, Interim Chief Executive, NHS Fife, on 30 December 2014, my responding Email follows:
“Dear Mrs Muirhead
Thank you for your enquiry.
The total funding associated with the IPCU has not changed and remains at £4.4 million, However there is more than one element to it and it is also being phased over more than one financial year.
I can confirm that service users including patients in IPCU and the low secure unit were involved in the early stages of the design. The Board has now enlisted the assistance of Circle network to identify previous service users to work with us on the next stage.
Artist drawings were on display in the staff dining room for a period of time. More detailed floor plans have been drawn up and will be considered when the Project Board meets in January.
Once the business case is approved there will be public engagement sessions.
My response in an Email, this morning, 31 December 2014:
Subject line: Re: what about the other £1.4million? I am still none the wiser. Staff centred services, no surprise there then. Hierarchical shenanigans and uncivil servants.
“Dear Dr Montgomery
Thanks for your response re the £1.4m enquiry and the question about meaningful involvement of experts by experience in the new build IPCU designs.
I am still none the wiser, regarding the £1.4million and what it is to be used for. “more than one element” and “phased over more than one financial year” doesn’t tell me, or any other non-NHS Fife health board folk, what is happening. I would have appreciated some detail rather than what appears to be a fobbing-off reply. As if you and the board are not going to tell a carer, activist and campaigner in Fife what is really going on.
It’s disappointing but not surprising. I’ve sat through a number of health board meetings now and know the score. Graphs and statistics that do their best to obscure the facts except when a point is being made. Handpicked patient stories to praise services or government/parliament initiatives.
As for the “involvement” of patients and carers, I see none of the latter and the former doesn’t appear to be either meaningful or rigorous in its execution. As usual it’s staff at the centre. getting the drawings on display for “a period of time”. Staff-centred services at Stratheden Hospital, what I have been used to, over the years since 1995/6 when my oldest son was an inpatient of Lomond Ward, was injured, had a critical incident with ECT, rushed to Ninewells, and I had to make complaints. What’s new?
“public engagement sessions” are not the same as consultations (mind you, to be honest, the government consultations haven’t been the best use of my time, the civil/uncivil servants just write their own stuff anyway). It sounds like asking for approval after the gate has shut, the horse has bolted. Please do correct me if I’m wrong? I speak as a community development worker of over 30 years.
Where I was involved in setting up grassroots community projects (not mental health specific), involving stakeholders from the offset, empowering individuals and being empowered. Working in partnership with statutory agencies, in South Lanarkshire, throughout the 1980’s. But things were different on coming to NE Fife in 1990. It has to be said. Like stepping back in time. Since 1990 I’ve worked in paid posts (not mental health specific) in Fife and in Perth, the latter was more like the Lanarkshire experience. More level playing fields and multi-disciplinary working.
However since 2008 and setting up Peer Support Fife it soon became very clear to me that Fife mental health services were a top-down affair with little if any meaningful involvement of the real experts by experience. The national situation wasn’t and isn’t that much better. Hierarchical shenanigans, tokenistic involvement and cronyism abounding. You can only climb the ladder of success if you tell them what they want to hear and keep quiet about your real opinions. Otherwise exclusion.
I will put your response and mine into a blog post for others to see,
13 December 2014
I just came upon this information about the new IPCU planned for Stratheden Hospital, by chance when searching the internet:
“NHS Fife – Stratheden IPCU, Cupar
As part of the Graham Construction PSCP team under the HFS Framework Scotland 2 we are undertaking the design of a new £3m Intensive Psychiatric Care Unit for NHS Fife at Stratheden Hospital in Cupar. Construction works are scheduled to start on site in early Spring 2015.”
So I have sent an Email to the NHS Fife Chief Executive Dr Brian Montgomery, saying:
“Can you please let me know where I can view the plans for this development? I would like to be informed, particularly considering my activism in this area. I am sure that others will also be interested.
I would like to know if any patients, carers, service users, people with experience of psychiatric settings from the customer perspective, have been involved in the design and planning process? I haven’t heard anything on the grapevine or from colleagues.
I do hope that people like me are having a say from the beginning. That our voices and experience are being recognised and respected. I think it makes sense to invite us in rather than have us only spectating on the sidelines. After all, we are the ones who may be having to engage with the service, support our family members who may find themselves detained in the IPCU.
I will put this link on my Stratheden Hospital blog in the expectation of hearing more from you ..”
[the original amount promised by Scottish Government was reported as £4.4million so I have sent another Email asking “what about the other £1.4m?“, what is it being used for? Eg Lomond Ward which is in need of restructuring, internally, so that female patients are not sleeping in dormitory accommodation overlooked by male patients in single rooms down the same corridor.]