Monday, 8 June 2015

FOI Request response: NHS Fife complaints/concerns: 2010-2015; 2%-3% mental health but I am not persuaded

Today I received a response (see charts below) to my FOI Request: NHS Fife complaints and concerns statistical breakdown 2010-2015.  

Stratheden Hospital complaints in this period - 2010:5; 2011:6; 2012:2; 2013:2; 2014:4; and so far in 2015:4.  Not sure if this is Jan-Dec or Apr-Mar and I have sent an Email to the FOI Lead Officer asking for confirmation.  

Also there are other factors to consider, for example patient numbers, duration of stay, bearing in mind that there has been a rehabilitation programme over recent years to discharge medium and long-stay patients into the community.  (my FOI request in 2013 regarding this discharge process)

I raised many complaints over the months of February and March 2012 while my son was an inpatient of the IPCU/Ward 4 and Lomond Ward.  A constant stream of Emails to senior managers in NHS Fife and Fife Council Social Work Service, to Scottish Government senior civil servants and to the Mental Welfare Commission CEO.  

Overall the NHS Fife complaints about mental health treatment compared to physical health treatment are very low in number, around 2%-3%.  It demonstrates the limitation of statistics on their own which tell us very little.  Qualitative feedback on every patient experience is crucial in finding out what's going on in psychiatric settings.

Low numbers of complaints does not necessarily equate to high patient satisfaction.  In all the years that my family were inpatients of Stratheden Hospital, from 1995-2012, we were never asked to complete a feedback form on our patient or carer experience. 

What I can see from the FOI response is that the complaints about Victoria Hospital more than doubled in number between 2011 and 2012, the concerns nearly tripling in that same period.  Whereas Queen Margaret Hospital complaints nearly halved in size that year, similarly with numbers of concerns.

I note that Forth Park Hospital complaints went from 27 in 2010 and 30 in 2011 to single figures in 2012.  Down to zero in 2015 so far. 

I am not persuaded or convinced that people using mental health services in Fife are able to raise complaints or are free to do so.  The costs are likely to be too high.  I can testify to this, having raised a number of concerns in 2010 about the treatment of patients and the behaviour of nurses in Lomond Ward.

Then in January 2012 it was very difficult for my son to access crisis support despite having a CPN.  Even after going to the police station and asking for help.  On 1 February 2012 my son had to take himself up to Stratheden Hospital in an attempt to get help.  The staff's response was to call the police.

There were many attempts made to lay the blame on me for what happened to my son inside Stratheden Hospital.  The "unreasonable" and dehumanising treatment.  Locked seclusion room with no toilet, drinking water, light switch outside, left for hours overnight unobserved, broken hand untreated.

spectacle cloth
Accusations of "psychological harm" and "difficult and demanding mother" were written down, in Adult Protection Investigation reports and in hospital "notes".  Much of which read like a work of fiction.  Fairy tales in the land of make-believe.  I contend it was because I raised complaints and advocated for my son at clinical meetings in the IPCU. 

Scepticism and unbelief, of the need for coercive treatment and the reality of mental illness, kept me sane in an otherwise mad world of bullying behaviour masquerading as "care and treatment".  The traits of determination and persistence stood me in good stead during the justice quest.  Resisting the force.

page one of letter from Norma Aitken, FOI Lead Officer, NHS Fife

board on display at new build IPCU information session Stratheden 13 May 2015

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