Working on for next weeks meeting. Please add your thoughts

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Working on for next weeks meeting. Please add your thoughts

Post  Karl on Fri Feb 01, 2008 9:51 am

Instead of tackling damaging issues within the NHS, the government have forced local trusts to step up to the plate and take finical responsibly for services that have national catchments, such as the Henderson Hospital. They in turn are forced to make decision based on what’s best for local people. I would imagine PCT’s would have a hell of a job explaining to local people why national projects should be funded at the cost of local services.

“If such a party ever held responsibility for any service or any organisation, as Opposition parties do in many local authorities, part of the decisions it would have to make would involve achieving value for money as well as giving the local population what they clearly need and want” Quote taken from Ivan Lewis’s speech in the Private Members debate 16/01/08

Government ministers such as Ivan Lewis should be informed that services like The Henderson do in fact have a National Catchments and all arguments should take this matter into account before entering into a debate where one cold be left with egg of there face or at best, look misinformed.

The problems that a locally funded patient would face if his/her PCT funds treatment in Hospitals such as The Henderson:

The problems with local funding are clear enough. First, they would have to convince their local PCT that funding their treatment is the best and most cost effective option. Then the PCT can weigh up the pros and cons. At this point, the danger is that the PCT could decide that they simply cannot afford the said treatment, now or never, while other PCT’s could see the economics of the treatment and fund it 100%
This in turn would make therapy offered by communities like Henderson a post code lottery. Much like we now face with our education system. With patients needing treatment being forced to move or lie in order to gain NHS funding. How long would we have to wait before someone mounts a legal challenge based on discrimination? Based on the fact that his neighbour under the next PCT can have healthcare you have been told you can’t. Somehow, I think this would be too much to bear for an adult who is frantically trying to get some help, in order to change their lives so they can take their place in today’s society.


It is my experience from when I was at The Henderson, where I was on the selection group. Most people that get to the interview stage; do so as a last attempt to take control of their lives before things spiral out of control. The shear desperation they feel while being interviewed (Interviews with 12 residents and 3 staff) becomes clear when they pour out their heart and soul to 15 people they have never met and may never meet again. The frankness and feeling of almost complete trust the interviewee show is overwhelming, to say the last. I remember from my 30 minute interview the shear hell of divulging my innermost secrets in a room full of strangers, was then and still the hardest thing I have ever done. I spoke about things I had never told a sole, I wept throughout my interview, all of the way home after and most of that night. If I hadn’t made it through the selection process, then at least I had been honest with myself in a way I had not managed to before that point. Despite possible rejection, I had something special to build on and a chance of another interview. The thought of another interview would have been daunting but constructive. When you “live one day at a time” little things like another interview are the very things that keep you alive.

I hope, in the near future real statistics can be shown to help put forward the economics of The Henderson and hard evidence that these models do give “Real Value for Money” compared with a lifetime trying to avoid issues that need to be faced. The real cost to the NHS and the country as a whole, can only be calculated when you take into account the life cost that could arise given the scenarios people with PD’s face. The cost to themselves, their families and other relationship they might have. Then there is the cost of keeping people with PD’s in prisons and secure psychiatric hospitals, the cost to the police for detention. The list is endless but valid none the less.

With one in four people experience some form of mental illness within their lifetime. Some will go through their life with this, others will need treatment and others grow out of it (So to speak) if we said that the average life expectancy is 75 years old, this would give us a figure of 1 million people with mental health issues. In turn there are statistics that show 5 percent of British mental health issues are people dealing with PD’s. This now gives us a patient base of 50,000 people with Personality Disorders. There are 59 beds in Therapeutic Communities throughout the UK 29 are at The Henderson Hospital. Are we to believe that the rest are to be treated with medication or maybe all to compete for the 30 remaining beds? Shame on us.

It is hard to understand, given the success The Henderson has had over the last 60 years, why we haven’t built more residential units based on this model. It’s strange to see them popping up in many other counties, yet we failed to expand upon it. There have been a great number of books that have been written about The Henderson model, a whole wealth of knowledge born from it but yet, we fail to learn from it. How very human of us.

The way forward for The Henderson Hospital

Secure a 6 month adjournment on the Closure

Use the time to produce statistics showing the value and economics of The Henderson

Request that the Government gives The Henderson “Trust” status

Seek National funding for a hospital with a national catchment

Raise the profile of The Henderson.

Raise the profile of The Henderson so that it’s in the public eye, much like the Royal Marsden or Moorfields Eye Hospital helping the public understand how therapeutic communities work for both the patients and the NHS as a whole.


If you think of the NHS mental health service as the body of psychiatry in the UK, then The Henderson is the head. Without a head, the body can’t function and would have absolutely no sense of direction, nor would it be able to learn from any mistakes, new ideas, new approaches or it’s own history. We must not allow this or any other TC unit to close. We should be protecting the ideals of The Henderson, not discarding them and flushing them down the pan.

Lastly
I wonder how many times in nature have we removed a species from the food chain or through our own ignorance damage whole eco systems beyond repair, only to realise what their importance was to our very existence.
I believe if The Henderson Hospital is to close, we may have to learn the very same lessons again.

Karl
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