[update 8 December 2013, I've been told they are going to deal with the urine smell. Finally]
I dropped by the Ceres
Centre in Stratheden Hospital the other day, to say hello to an OT who
had contacted me by Email. I went first into the shop area which has
tables, chairs and sofas where patients sit and pass the time of day.
Especially the long-stay or "left behind" patients.
right enough there were a few of them sitting or snoozing. I noticed
that nothing had been done about the toilet doors that open out on to
the lounge area. No spring to automatically close them, still cardboard
labels saying Mens and Ladies. But if one is occupied then the other
will be used, regardless of gender.
put down a new carpet in the lounge area but the smell of urine still
persists. I think it must be in the floorboards or coming from the
toilets. The patients will have got used to it over the years. That
doesn't make it OK.
The patients were telling
me that they were getting moved out "into the community". Glenrothes
and Newburgh, it seems. No choice, or at least only a choice between
the two. The woman who I've spoken to a lot and who wants Burntisland,
where she was born and brought up, where family members live, isn't
getting what she wants.
With £1.5 million for the
'Stratheden Rehabilitation Redesign Programme' you'd think that at last
the patients would get person-centred care or choice. But no, it looks
like they will all be herded into units where they can be kept an eye
on "in the community". After years of chemical lobotomisation the
forced treatment continues. Locked doors of one sort or another.
No surprise there then.
However I spoke to one
male patient who said he isn't for moving. Stratheden's been his home
for many a year. He knows everybody and knows what's going on, and is a
campaigner for justice in the confines of his environment. He told me
that there is money sitting in a fund that should be for patients, from
when there was a user-led collective advocacy group in the hospital. I'll need to check this out.
we don't have independent advocacy in Fife. The statutory agencies did
away with the user voice. Much easier just to get us to rubber stamp
their decisions, after the fact. They don't have a clue about what
involvement really means. Because then they would have to change the
way they work and they don't want to do this. They've got away with it
for too long.
I was waiting in the queue for the shop I noticed one of the long-stay
female patients go into the Mens toilet after a long-stay male patient
and flush the pan, closing the door afterwards. I suppose it's
something she is in the habit of doing. Looking out for her fellow
Someone has to.