Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Taking the "care" out of Lancashire Care

After a reasonably quiet year, it looks like we may be back in business.  This time to try and protect local rehabilitation for service users being discharged from hospital.

In 2014, LCFT opened Moss View in Heysham following a refurbishment costing tens of thousands of pounds.  The site was officially opened in July 14 to great fanfare, only for LCFT to be winding down the site and closing it not much more than a year later.

This site should care for up to 12 service users who need rehabilitation after long hospital stays and serious illness.  It is also used to support people with complex needs, such as learning disabilities who are not unwell enough for hospital, but not well enough to care for themselves independently.

Without this resource, we can only imagine that people will be sent out of area or left to Home Treatment, a team LCFT is currently cutting by 20-25%.

LCFT has been struggling with demand for acute inpatient beds, after years of systematic bed closures.   One of the reasons for delayed discharge can be lack of suitable follow on care.  This makes this decision even more incomprehensible.

Crikey LCFT. Will there be any actual care left soon?

Monday, 9 March 2015

Mumsnet, Madness and Me

Our Mumsnet guest post for their 15th birthday celebrations.

In 2012, I had a breakdown and was admitted to a psychiatric hospital with severe depression.  The day after I was admitted, a member of staff came to my room to say that I had two visitors.  I didn’t recognise their names. When I met them in the corridor, in front of the staff, they greeted me like old friends, and I went along with it.

When we were alone in the visiting room, they introduced themselves, with an apology.  Sorry, the tall one said, but if I’d introduced myself as TheSecondComing and said that she was a BitOfFun, they’d never have let us in.  I burst out laughing.  It was the first time I’d laughed in weeks.  That, my friends, is what Mumsnetters are all about.

Fast forward to 2014 and I was ill again and back in hospital.  Soon after I was discharged, the news filtered through the community that The Orchard hospital where I had been treated was now male only, meaning there was no local inpatient care for women at all.  All the female patients were being sent miles away for treatment, with no chance of being treated close to home.

I can clearly remember how far my stomach sank when I heard the news.  I felt sick, I felt scared, and I felt vulnerable.  What if I got ill again?  What would it be like to be miles away from my children, my family, my friends?  I walked around my home town thinking about it, and the more I walked and the more I thought, the angrier I became.  How could the needs of women like me be dismissed in such a casual way? How could we lose a service with seemingly not a thought as to how it would affect the women around me? I needed to do something, but what, and how? I needed help from somewhere.

I sent out a call for help from the people I knew, and much of that help came from Mumsnetters.  With their help, the Beds in the Orchard campaign was started.

MmeLindor gave me a crash course on how to run a social media campaign by using use a blog and Twitter to generate interest and support, and provided me with a long list of names of people who she thought could help. Therealsgm came to the rescue by posting about the situation on a site she helped run, which in turn generated interest from national media, with articles in the New Statesman and the Huffington Post.  Another mumsnetter put me in contact with a journalist, who, while they couldn’t run the story, gave me amazing advice about what to do next, leading to coverage on local BBC Radio and in the Press.

A lot of work went in to keeping the campaign going at a local level, with service users joining together to share their stories and look into the legal aspects of the closure, but that was all backed up by the help and support from my Mumsnet family.  With their help, we turned a small campaign about 6 beds in a small psychiatric unit in the corner of North Lancashire into something that people all over the country cared about and wanted to support.

Mumsnetters tweeted and retweeted our posts and promoted the campaign.  Mumsnet Bloggers gave me blog of the day, generating around 1000 hits to our blog and many more signatures on our petition.  The local Mumsnet and Gransnet Sites for Preston, Blackpool, Lancashire and Cumbria all helped support the campaign by sharing our blog, promoting our petition, and tweeting their support. Hundreds of Mumsnetters signed our petition, and some even wrote directly to the Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust to show their support for us. 
We fought and fought hard to get the beds back for the women, and we WON!  At the end of January 2015, the Trust reverted The Orchard to a mixed-sex facility, and we doubt that they will close it to women again.

What Mumsnet Means to Me

Being a Mumsnetter is like having a thousand extra sisters you never knew you needed.  Since joining, I have had support through some of the toughest experiences of my life, including my child being diagnosed with Autism, and serious illness.

I have had support and advice about everything from how to navigate the system to get a Statement of SEN for my child, to how to get rid of the mould from my washing machine.  I have laughed my hardest at some of the funniest threads and cried along with those who are suffering.  When I was in hospital, women I'd never met or spoken to in real life wrote me letters and made me feel cared about in a way that’s hard to express in print.

I have met some of my best friends on Mumsnet, with on-line acquaintances turning into real life friends.  Even though, sadly, one of them now lives on the other side of the world, I count myself fortunate to know them every day.

So Happy Birthday, Mumsnet!

I am truly honoured to have been given the Guest Post for Mumsnet's 15th Birthday.  You’re one in a million, and I’m glad I have your sisterhood on my side.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

WE'VE WON!!!!!!! The Beds in the Orchard are female once more!

It is with HUGE excitement and pride that we can announce that from 5pm this evening The Orchard will be reopened to women. Women from Lancaster and District who are currently in hospitals away from home will be coming back to The Orchard over the next few days.


There are a lot of people that we'd like to thank for all of their help with this campaign, but for now we're busy spreading the word.  However a quick thanks to...

BBC Radio Lancashire - particularly Tim Padfield.
The Lancaster Guardian.
David Morris MP
Glosswitch at the New Stateman
Louise Pennington at the Huffington Post
@LynnCSchreiber for her lesson in social media 101
Everyday Victim Blaming
Mumsnet, Mumsnet Bloggers and Gransnet
Philippa Molloy and Lisa Toner, not forgetting Bee, Janet, Bex and the BITO Massive.

And, of course, everyone who signed our petition, followed our blog and tweeted their support.  There are too many to name here.

I would like to say one thanks to Keith Dibble, the Deputy Network Director at Lancashire Care NHS Trust for his professionalism in dealing with our campaign and keeping in regular touch about what the Trust were doing to put this right.

Did I mention that WE WON!!!

Friday, 30 January 2015

Pinned Post

For who we are and what you can to help, please go to the post linked below.


You can sign our Petition here.

More information about why we are campaigning is here.


We do love a good rant - an accurate one too

Not noticed this is norm, but can I request that you post this rather than leave it as a comment?

Oh go on Anonymous, since you asked so nicely.

What the hell do the LCareFT CARE. They don't give a shite.
They speak a load of Drivell.
They promised on County wide radio this won't be for ..."weeks and weeks!"
They told a misleading truth. They mislead the citizens of Lancashire and the radio and newspaper reporters.
It has been MONTHS and MONTHS and it seems the Harbour opening is 'surprise-surprise' going to be delayed.
So to recap Only going to be until the Harbour opens; no, just less than weeks and weeks.
The women are told they are going to the Orchard but have that rug pulled from under them just a couple of days before Christmas (Heartless Cruelty)
They empty the female wing; of all but one man, but instead of going that last step they refilled the empty five beds with men knowing the difficulty they say they faced to get to that stage.
And there are no signs that the concerns and frustration voiced re the experiences around the CRISIS (CRISIS RESOLUTION AND HOME TREATMENT TEAM (CRHTT) - CuRT by name CuRT by nature it seems)) are being addressed, nor even acknowledged.
Is this Trust run by amateurs, the heartless or the blissfully ignorant?!
Give these women their Therapeutic Need!
If anyone is harmed as a direct result of your actions and inactions The Truth WILL Out LCFT

Posted by Anonymous to Beds In The Orchard at 30 January 2015 at 14:18

Can you keep yourself safe? An adventure with Crisis.

Can you keep yourself safe?

So there's no local care.  We know about this and at least two people yesterday who are following this campaign have been deterred from seeking help because they are scared of what will happen. 

Fear.  Fear is a bad thing when you are already fearful, or perhaps not thinking rationally, or seeing every small set back as a huge challenge that can't be overcome.  Catastrophising.  Every little thing lending weight to the idea sat in your head that life isn't worth living and you'd be better off dead.

In steps the Crisis Team.

Except there's not many people in the Crisis team, and personal experiences shared by Service Users expose the huge disparity of the care given by individual members. 

If you have a crisis in the middle of the night, you need to vie to speak to the lone worker who is covering all of the area.  On other nights you find yourself being transferred to the lone worker sat in another area of the Trust, miles away.  What can they do?  Not much.

But surely you will get a sympathetic response?  Not always.

"What do you want me to do about it?"

"Was it you calling over and over again when I was on another call?  We do have other people you know".

So you end up feeling worse, like you're wasting their time.  Like you're even more nothing than you were before.  This makes the usual "what can you do to distract yourself" and "What has helped before when you've felt like this." seem benign, although generally very unhelpful.

Then you have the assessment of risk, except if you don't fit nicely into their check-sheet for risk then you're not as likely to be taken seriously to get help.  You have a mental illness - fine.  Not a man of a low socioeconomic background who lives alone?  Well why aren't you organising your own help then?

Because its that easy, isn't it.

Then you have the pejorative way in which some members of the team treat people who even have a whiff of a note of "personality disorder" against them - or worse, when someone in the team decides you have a PD despite there being no such pathology in any report.

They can't really mean it, they're manipulative and attention seeking. Missing the point that each case needs to be taken on its own merit.

Then the last question - Can you keep yourself safe?

Well no, no I don't think I can, that's why I am calling you, but by calling, you dismiss the sincerity of what I am saying because I've called you.

Can you keep yourself safe?  You better be able to as there's no help to be found.


Thursday, 29 January 2015

To treat or not to treat - that is the question

So what happens when you're to scared to call for help as you don't know where you'll end up?

This, from one of our contributors today.

Things haven't been so good lately.  I'm finding it harder and harder to cope.

I can't sleep, but then when I sleep, I can't wake up.
I can't concentrate on anything other than making plans to end it all.

But I don't want to call for help.  What are my options?  There are no options.

The Crisis team?  What can they do anyway?  Tell you off if you call them instead of the CCTT when you aren't sure which number to ring.  Have a magical bath of healing. Distract yourself.  End up feeling worse than before you called.

So you're offered hospital, but I have no idea where will I end up. 
  • Burnley, which by all accounts is hell on earth.
  • Blackpool, which has a great reputation, but only next to Burnley.
  • Chorley, miles away from my family and too far for them to visit.
  • Ormskirk?   I'm not even sure where the hell Ormskirk is.
  • Some private hospital somewhere? Not local, Manchester? Further?

I don't want to be sent miles away.  I just don't.  Knowing there's fuck all chance of being close to home, desperate to get out.  That's not healing.  That's not the environment you can get better in.

So I'm not calling for support as it's pointless. There's no point in calling for support when there's none, is there.  If I ask for support and end up hospitalised then I'm screwed.

I give in.  I really do. There's no help and no where to turn to.

Thanks LCFT.  Thank you very much for taking away my local hospital.  Thank you for screwing me over just because I'm a woman.  Thanks for screwing over your own bed capacity to my loss.

Thanks for nothing.