We are constantly told to be positive by our managers. ” Forget the past, look forward to the future, things are improving, look at all these agency staff we have now! ” Forget the fact that Band 6 agency staff have taken the place of our best staff who have been downgraded to Band 5, and have to sit there and swallow it. How is it that there’s such a gulf between non-clinical managers’ perception of reality and that of front-line staff. We still have no beds; patients are constantly shuffled around so that new admissions can somehow be accommodated, other patients are discharged still unwell, without proper care plans in place. We are still transporting patients back and forth across the country like freight. This week a patient spent over 30 hours in a police station while waiting for a bed, to be picked up eventually by a private ambulance from Essex to be transported to a private hospital many, many miles from Norfolk; where is the care and humanity in this? Another patient assessed as needing detention under Section 3 waited all week for a bed. Major changes are planned for the social work service in mental health; access to social work help is crucial for people in crisis or who have severe mental health problems. It is crucial, but unlikely, that patients are consulted. Unfortunately the model of ” care ” has already been decided. One proposal is that AMHPs will now cover the whole County; they will be assessing people under the Mental Health Act but with little knowledge of local resources and possible alternatives to compulsory detention. Yes, we are where we are…but where will we be tomorrow.
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