In May and June we:
- Listened to a lot of complaints about the impact of the new smoking ban on patients throughout the hospital. Patients in the Orchard Clinic feel the new policy hits them particularly hard: they see lots of people freely smoking on the grounds with no consequences, but because of rules on nurse escorts, they are unable to smoke on or even off the grounds. Patients in wards like Craiglea and Eden complained about how far they have to walk to get to a hospital exit – not so easy if you are older or have mobility issues. These patients feel like the policy unfairly discriminates against them. Patients in Meadows and IPCU created smoking ban petitions which we sent to the hospital manager. Smoking on the wards remains a major problem.
- Strongly represented the collective voice of Rehab patients at the Wayfinder PSP groups, which are redesigning rehabilitation services in the REH and the community. It looks likely that a house in Colinton Mains (called Firrhill) will open in October to take 6 patients from the Rehab wards. We have stressed the importance of patients’ rights in the design of this project and asked lots of questions about how patients will benefit from a move to a different type of team and model of care than the one they are familiar with.
- Attended a very interesting event on the Open Dialogue approach to mental health care that started in Western Lapland in Finland, but is quickly spreading to the UK, New York and the rest of the world. Open Dialogue uses a psycho-social approach and focuses on a person’s family and social networks and the ideas that there is meaning in psychosis which can be uncovered by dialogue between people. It’s a completely alternative system of mental health care which claims it can reduce the use of medication and compulsion. Could it work here?