Group Advocacy

There has been a definite recovery flavour to our group advocacy over the past few months. Patients often praise the strong recovery focus in the Orchard Clinic and its use of innovative approaches e.g. in employing peer support workers, so it was good to speak to Trevor Jones, one of the people responsible for this happy state of affairs, just before his retirement. Trevor has been in mental health nursing since the 1980’s, ending up as Senior Charge Nurse in Cedar Ward. We began by discussing the importance of nurses having a good moral compass, which for us includes the need to speak out and report questionable practice by colleagues. We will always admire those nurses with the courage to advocate for patients in this way, while appreciating the challenges in doing so. Those who are able to raise their voices on behalf of patients help make the NHS a safer place for us all.
Trevor spoke about being one of a group of Edinburgh-based nurses around 20 years ago who had a vision to change things in Scotland’s forensic system and who went on to set up what became the Orchard Clinic. They had evidence that a less custodial approach could lead to much speedier recovery and rehabilitation and this continues to be borne out in the clinic to this day. We asked Trevor how to preserve this legacy and he said the fear is that people become complacent about recovery and so there is a constant need to keep encouraging and maintaining recovery-oriented approaches amongst staff groups. Trevor had no truck with the idea that “recovery has gone too far” nor that it involves a shirking of personal responsibility: it isn’t simply about nurses saying to patients “Oh well, that’s your choice” and leaving things there. I think many patients would want to thank Trevor for his services to patients and their recovery and hope his legacy can continue