One of my biggest problems regarding Chris’ care is the Acute Trust practically ignoring his mental health and the Mental Health trust refusing to see to him until he’s declared medically fit, the latter I can understand. So what does this mean for Chris? Well after attending A&E for an overdose, for example, he has to been looked after medically first and foremost, and in the case of an overdose it normally requires so many hours under observation at the very least. Now you try telling Chris, who has attempted to take his own life, would rather people just left him alone and doesn’t really want the help to stay put and allow them to do their jobs, it’s not easy. Most of the time there comes a point when agitation and thoughts are too much and Chris starts to get his things and leave. More often than not when I myself approach staff and explain that Chris is leaving and I’m concerned for his safety and wellbeing the reply is ‘if he leaves, we will phone the police’. Now in my eyes, this isn’t good enough, for a start what is to stop him walking out the hospital to the main road and under a car? He could have done that before they have so much as dialled the number for the Police! Also every time A&E/the ward/hospital have carried out their action and called the cops, Chris is always home, there for, what exactly are the Police meant to do? They can only ask him to go back.
There has been two exceptions to this, once when he was in Coronary Care and he was going to leave I spoke to the Dr looking after him and he said if he tries to leave we will section him and security would be asked to sit with him and follow him everywhere. The other was a lovely doctor in A&E who had security around to make sure he didn’t leave. Apart from those two occasions it’s always them mentioning and then involving the Police. Now if they deem him unwell enough to need to be dragged back by Police officers it’s their job and a duty of care to Chris to stop him leaving in the first place with the power they have to do that!
As part of yesterday’s meeting I bought this up with the Mental Health trust and asked them what the Acute Trusts policy is around Mental health, and was rather worried they didn’t know themselves and wouldn’t be surprised if the Acute Trust didn’t even have one. However, I have now asked to see what the Acute trusts policy is around Mental health to see what, if anything is meant to happen, and then I am hoping to make my feelings known to the Acute trust that I think what happens at the moment is unacceptable and dangerous. I had a consultant Psychiatrist agreeing that it would be completely inappropriate to let someone who had overdosed leave the hospital alone on the basis ‘we will call the police to bring them back’ he said they shouldn’t be allowed to leave until their mental health had been assessed by the appropriate person.
This is something I am currently looking into and hope to have some answers soon. I will keep you updated on how this goes, what I manage to find out and if they are willing to listen and perhaps encourage a change on how it currently appears to stand.