Sunday, August 08, 2010

Mental Health : Sue Turner Trust CEO Loses Press Complaint Suicide Trio Attempt



Patient rights to have a voice are so often wrapped up inside the weaving corporate politics of NHS Trusts and partly this looks like such a case where the complicated context is of three patients who decided on a triple suicide attempt mixed into an alleged lack of Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust consultation over the closure of their special "Main House" Borderline PD Unit in February 2010 .

The Birmingham Mail did a thorough job of reporting the drama and used photo's in one of its several reports which were pixellated of the patients to prevent identification.

Sue Turner CEO of the Birmingham Mental Health Foundation Trust (pixellated above) made a complaint to the Press Complaints Commission against the Birmingham Mail for using the photos but the PCC have not upheld it . It was a sound judgment we think not to uphold the claim that these patients required the claimed level of confidentiality that Sue Turner implied .

The PCC claimed a relative of one of the distressed patients on behalf of that patient had supported the right to have a photo of them used . According to the New Statesman :

"journalists said a parent of one of the patients had supported the use of the images and that they had given a voice to mental health patients who had complained they were being ignored."

All of the patients involved were distressed at the closure of Main House . It was also locally rumoured that the BSMHFT had used legal advice to foreshorten any fuller consultation on the Main House closure. In fact it was the Birmingham East and North Primary Care Trust that created pressure for a public and patient consultation of a full 3 months to occur. Pressure too for that came from patients and groups . That much seems partly borne out at the Health and Overview Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) which ordered at a scrutiny hearing that a full 3 months consultation should be observed.

Users in the PD (personality disordered) community outside of Main House though had spoken to each other about how the despair of the suicide three did also have the appearance of a desperate social political gesture . Why so desperate, and was their desperation actually the product of being really under-informed ?

What is still something of a mystery is this was a local context where Main House Borderline PD Unit was slowly losing its viability over several years and of its 24 beds less than half were taken over the last two years before it closed .

How many Users close to its actions and services knew this? . How strong is the User-informed culture in Birmingham ? Does the BSMHFT encourage enough openess to patients of detail about its operations? BSMHFT pride itself on an internal User Voice mechanism yet it comes under the control of the Trust. In mental health in Birmingham there is NO INDEPENDENT USER VOICE ..

Main House Unit viability was based on outside PCT's across the country purchasing its rather exclusive services which often involved people uprooting themselves for a year. Its staff costs , over the last two years of its operation, were not paid for by the "Out Of Area" PCT purchasing mechanism but in fact more by the BSMHF Trust. The Trust were making a "loss" .....

The Primary Care Trust at Birmingham East and North also from public domain HOSC paperwork we examined could have done far better at making sure Tier 4 (severe) BPD patients had provisions in place some time ago - maybe dovetailing User-visits to new places where provisions were to be purchased . The PCT estimated that in Birmingham, Tier 4 (severe Borderline symptoms) would only exist in 3 people per million so why there was a problem here between everyone, namely Trust and PCT provisioners getting this right for 3 people?

Its still a mystery and one which may well be being investigated . The Birmingham Mail should be made aware of that ..

The PCC also stated : (source Press Gazette )

"The PCC said that while it did not receive a complaint from a patient or their families it had taken the complaint forward as the NHS trust was an interested party."


P.s. For the record UserWatch declares its magical love for Sue Turner and the fact that she is a pixie (pixellated) truly elates us ... Mwahhh ...(catch our pixellated lips below)

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