It can be terrifying to work in NSFT’s medium secure facilities at the moment. ‘Fred’ tells us what it is like:
“The cuts have been having a worsening impact upon secure services. There have been ward closures and staffing cuts in forensic psychiatry too. This is my story.
Recently, the working environment has started to get increasingly unsafe and for the first time I have thought I may sustain a life-changing injury or worse. I have worked in the past when we were short-staffed but it was never like this.
Staff shortages are a mostly daily occurrence, with wards left with unsafe numbers and sometimes with no registered staff.
There are hardly any regular staff on shift as most have left or are off long-term sick as a result of physical injury or work-related stress.
Those that are working are suffering burn-out. There is no continuity of care, which makes providing consistency and safety near impossible.
Incidents are so regular that incident forms are not always filled out; often the program crashes so you lose your data part way through. Other times there have been so many incidents or near misses that simply logging all the data means leaving off shift hours late.
An experienced colleague I respect said “Welcome to Hell” when I arrived on shift the other day. And it is, on a daily basis. If staff are unsafe so are patients and surely someone has to do something. This must be a safeguarding issue. We’ve used incident reporting, the whistleblowing line and contacted the CQC. Please can someone help us before someone dies? Or is the budget the only priority? At what cost?”