A strategy for supporting better care in Scotland – Robbie Pearson

Healthcare Improvement Scotland Blog

Robbie Pearson Portrait 2Today Healthcare Improvement Scotland publishes its plan for the next five years. I know for most people, a new strategy hardly makes for great bedtime reading.

But, accepting I am biased, I believe this is really important and I hope I can convince you why.

There are few things as precious to us as individuals, or as a country, as our health and wellbeing. And our plan is all about exactly that: making the care you receive better.

One of the graphics I particularly like in the plan is on page 8. It illustrates the huge variety of ways we can support better care. From promoting patient safety, to our inspection and external assurance of care services, and from making sure we use evidence and data effectively to giving people a real say on how care services are designed and delivered.

However all of our functions are connected by one…

View original post 436 more words

Starting out as a Peer Worker on EMPOWER


My name’s Davie and I’ve just started work as a Mental Health Peer Support Worker with the EMPOWER Study.

I’m married with two kids and have worked in social care since 2006. My last psychosis was in 2005 and since then I have had a lot of help and learned different ways of dealing with my condition. I keep fairly good mental health today and feel that although recovery has been a trudge at times overall it has given me a strength that in the early days I didn’t know was possible.

This is a totally new role for me and in a way a disclosure about my mental health. After all it’s in my job title PEER. I have always kept my mental health problems a secret in previous jobs, which, by the way is exhausting! My new employer has employed me perhaps because I’ve got lived experience and…

View original post 326 more words

Raised by the people of Scotland

Hole Ousia

Crowd-funding is nothing new. The Martyrs’ monument was funded by public subscriptions to redress the events of 50 years previously when five Scots were transported for sedition. Their speaking up for the common people was judged by those in authority to be “wicked and felonious”.

The Foundation stone for the Martyrs’ Monument was laid on the 21st August 1844:

400 people attended the laying of the foundation stone. 183 years to the day later it happened to be five of us who gathered for a peaceful protest recognising the ongoing imbalance in power between those in high office and those in the general population.

Walter Humes, writing in Scottish Review, 21st September 2015:

President Obama put this in a slightly different way:

Our protest also happened to coincide with a solar eclipse. My particular experience with high office has related to my petition for a Sunshine Act for Scotland

View original post 27 more words

Tricks and Tools

Mental Health Cop

By working in a role that takes me around the country, I get to see the various differences that exist between police areas – and I don’t just mean the 43 police forces of England and Wales, but even more local than that.  I’m a West Midlands Police officer and my operational experience has mainly been in Birmingham but I’ve also spent three years working in the Black Country.  The Brummies and the Yam Yams will hate me for saying this: but those areas are not as different as they’d like to think they are – I hope I can get away with that, being neutral (a Geordie).  But there are differences in the way that services operate: different local authorities, different mental health trust albeit the same 999 services who often work across those boundaries.  Section 136 MHA works very differently on Shenstone Road, in west Birmingham depending on…

View original post 1,438 more words

Mental Health Expert

Mental Health Cop

Today, I was invited to do something because I’ve been identified as “an expert in emergency mental health care.” I did wonder whether this was one of those mistakes made by someone who wasn’t reading closely enough, as when a medical recruitment company recently invited me apply for “vacant consultant psychiatrists’ positions in Birmingham, Manchester or London”. Apparently my CV had impressed them – my LinkedIn page, actually. It was obviously somehow beyond-impressive as it managed to distract their attention away from my utter lack of a medical degree or any professional registration as a medical practitioner. In fairness, I do have a first-aid certificate … but actually, even that’s expired if I’m being completely honest because I’m not currently in an operational role. I’m an associate member of the College of Paramedics, if that helps, but in fairness they don’t let me anywhere near the drugs or the cannulas…

View original post 1,581 more words

Developing a theory of implementation



We’ve been doing some more work on our EMPOWER on our Phase 1 qualitative data.

I (Steph) became involved in the project through my undergraduate dissertation. Having experience of psychosis and an interest in intervention research that actively includes the perspective of people who use services and their families, I have appreciated engaging with the team. I (Andrew) have been supervising Steph throughout her dissertation and introducing her to the delights of Grounded Theory.

As part of the run up to the Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial it was really important for us as a team to engage with key stakeholders to explore with them their views about the EMPOWER Mobile App. Key stakeholders are people with lived experience, their family members and mental health staff.

We’ve been really struck by how much agreement there is between stakeholders regarding Early Warning Signs. All three groups seem to accept the term Early…

View original post 264 more words

Endemic Abuse

Mental Health Cop

This morning’s headline in The Times is a complete stunner – NHS abuse of mental patients ‘endemic’(). Already, early on the day of publication, we have various commentators running off down various routes, from Professor Louis Appleby bemoaning a ‘harmful media bandwagon’, to individual mental health professionals pointing out that the words ‘mental patients’ are outdated at best and stigmatising at worst. Then we’ve already seen objections to the implied journalistic conclusions whereby The Times is mistaking every serious untoward incident review for ‘abuse’, which conflates distinct issues, apparently. I’m sure we’ll see more of this as the day goes on – for example, I’m waiting to hear the ‘bad apple’ theory which we often hear about when it comes to excesses and abuses of police powers. This is the idea the majority of officers are good people who get up every day to put themselves in harm’s way…

View original post 1,402 more words

Networking with fellow carers

A Caring Mind

FamilyWelcome again to another one of my carer blog posts. On this particular post I am going to talk about networking with carers. When I talk about carers, I am talking about unpaid carers, I am not mentioned care workers who work for a care agency. Care workers are paid and have clients, carers are unpaid and care for someone they are related to or emotionally attached or at least know.

Caring for someone can be extriemly isolating. If a carer is spending so much time caring and not networking, they can loose out on support, information and identity. It is so important to get out there and mingle with like-minded carers.

I have done a short video presentation about carer networking, you can view it below.

  • One of the worst aspect for carers is to be isolated. Carers feel they belong if they are connected to other carers.
  • Carer…

View original post 389 more words

‘The medical untouchables’

Hole Ousia

The following is a recent opinion piece by Dr Des Spence published in the British Journal of General Practice.

I had been lined up to do the media interviews on BBC Scotland in relation to petition PE1651. However, on the day, due to changed travel arrangements, I was not available. Dr Des Spence was interviewed instead and did a better job than I could have done.

As an NHS doctor and specialist, I fully support this petition (PE1651) which calls on the Scottish parliament “to urge the Scottish Government to take action to appropriately recognise and effectively support individuals affected and harmed by prescribed drug dependence and withdrawal.”

I have submitted my response.

I feel it would be helpful to hear the views of the Chief Medical Officer for Scotland and in particular, how this matter might be considered as part of Realistic Medicine.


View original post 145 more words