There been a few news items over the last few days that I didn’t choose to blog about at the time, but I think that they are worth a mention, so I’ve decided to include them all here in one blog post.
Further information was released concerning the lady who’s body was found at Newry Beach (please see blog post ‘Another Death – Feb 13 2017’). It was revealed that she had been having a very hard time indeed, ‘was tired of fighting and just wanted to go to sleep’ and had lost possession of her children. There was also a reference to the staff from the NHS who had ‘cared’ for her. The police stated that there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death, so this sounds very much like the suicide of someone who had probably had contact with the mental health services.
Yesterday the Daily Post reported that a man was snatched from the jaws of death by a police officer – the man was sitting ‘cross-legged with his head bowed’ on the railway track at Connah’s Quay as a train approached http://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/man-pulled-front-connahs-quay-12617717 I note that he’d told officers that he’d ‘had enough’. The state’s solution to this man’s problems was to prosecute him for trespassing on the railway line – he was fined £300 with additional costs. Is this not a little inconsistent with all the talk at present of ‘fighting stigma’, ‘asking for help’ and ‘talking about mental health’? This case is far from unique – I co-authored a book in 2012 with my friend Prof BJ Brown and whilst we were researching for this book we uncovered scores of examples of punitive responses by the legal system to people who had attempted suicide.
Then yesterday evening a reader of the blog brought this to my attention (after he’d finished crying with laughter himself) http://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/psychologists-drafted-crack-wrexhams-arson-12621694 So north Wales’s own hopeless psychologists who have completely failed to provide any sort of decent mental health service for the region are now going to be called upon to ‘profile’ whoever might be setting fire to cars in Wrexham. We won’t expect any arsonists to be caught soon then. The Daily Post’s feature makes reference to the popular TV series ‘Cracker’, centred around a psychologist who advised the police. Although it was made clear at the time that there was no such Cracker figure working in the UK, this programme really caught the public’s imagination and was even the cause of an increase in applications to psychology degrees in the UK. (I wonder if the north Wales police noticed the irony that a TV programme suggested that they needed the advice of psychologists to carry out their job whereas in reality they were spending a considerable amount of time mopping up the mess left behind by the mental health services.) But then ‘Casualty’ in no way reflects what I’ve seen happening in A&E at Ysbyty Gwynedd when Stephen Gallagher has been on duty (please see blog post ‘Two Very Dishonest Dangerous Nurses’)…
Which brings me to the next item to be mentioned in this news round-up. Earlier on in the week, BBC News Wales reported on the ‘crisis’ in Wales’s A&E depts. The A&E depts of the hospitals managed by the Betsi were by far the worst performers.
There was a BBC news report stating that the NHS in Wales in the coming years would not cope without employing doctors who had trained outside of the UK. Well the medical services in north Wales for many years now have had such a bad reputation that home-grown graduates won’t work here – it’ll only be a matter of time before word gets around to non-UK graduates regarding how bad the situation is and they’ll stop applying for posts here as well. You can’t fool all of the people all of the time…
Lastly, this morning BBC News Wales is reporting that the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, Sarah Rochira, is demanding evidence regarding the (alleged) decrease in the use of anti-psychotic drugs as a ‘chemical cosh’ in ‘care homes’ for elderly people, which she has described as a ‘national scandal’ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-39006759 It is good to see that this is finally being addressed, but it would be good to see the irresponsible prescribing of anti-psychotics in the mental health services addressed as well. Some people do find that anti-psychotics help in some circumstances and some people find them a lot more helpful than the ‘talking treatments’ which are being so heavily promoted at present. However in the mental health services in north Wales, for the last thirty years anti-psychotics have been liberally dished out to patients by practitioners who have frequently ignored prescribing guidelines and have such little knowledge of, and rapport with, their patients that they would have been incapable of judging whether these patients were actually benefiting from these drugs. These drugs can have side-effects that pretty much stop people from functioning normally and can make them feel dreadful – I know of one Hergest patient who told a friend of mine that he could no longer live with the side-effects that these drugs were causing. He had previously tried to raise his concerns with the staff of the Hergest Unit and their response was to up the dose. (He was of course being forcibly injected with these drugs, so there was no escape for him.) He threw himself in front of a train a few hours after telling my friend how his ‘medication’ had destroyed his quality of life. And dear old Dr Raj Sambhi at the Heddfan Unit prescribes them to anyone who tells him that there’s neglect and abuse happening in the north Wales mental health services and that a paedophile ring was operating in the area.