NSUN network for mental health is an independent, service-user-led charity that connects people with experience of mental health issues to give us a stronger voice in shaping policy and services.
Mystery Shopper on Section 2 of Mental Health Act
Blogging now from an unnamed in patient mental health unit (miles from home – I’d never heard of the nearest town) this week has really got me down. Having twice asked for voluntary admission during February & being told there were no beds at all in the NHS then being phoned by the bed manager asking me how far I would be prepared to travel as she was about to phone the ‘priory hotline’ to look for private sector bed (which never materialized) I was very distressed to end up physically restrained by 5 A&E security staff, sedated, handcuffed & transported to an unknown location on a section 2.
At first I thought that was the worst part of my situation, that I had known I was unwell again (my last admission was 8 years ago) but what has shocked me is how downright dangerous the ward is & how badly some of the most vulnerable patients are treated.
I’ve not witnessed abuse or neglect on the scale of winterbourne view or anything that would vaguely interest the wider public but the lack of respect given to some patients, ‘games’ played by some staff, lack of general interaction and quite dangerous lack of basic medical/physical health care has really shocked me to be honest.
Being the weekend & with senior staff absent, I have seen some quite horrid things today. A staff nurse ordered another patient to fill up her water bottle for her when the patient had knocked on the door to ask for medication, the staff nurse then complained the bottle wasn’t full enough & ordered to fill it to the top, then complained that the outside of the bottle was wet. It wasn’t so much what the nurse had asked the patient to do, it was the way she ordered her about, didn’t even look at her or stand up as she held out the water bottle for collection & that all these demands had to be met before the patient was allowed to make her request for medication (this took a further 10 mins before the nurse reappeared with the keys & then gave the medication without a single word)
Earlier in the week I had to dial 999 from my mobile phone & calmly try to explain to the call handler that I was indeed on a section in a mental health unit & believed that I was seriously unwell from an infection I had had for a few days & that yes I had spoken to the nurses & yes that I had requested to see a doctor several times but yes that I had really been told to go away, thankfully the ambulance service responded after not being given a satisfactory response on phoning the ward (I turned out to have sepsis)
On several occasions whilst I was in the general hospital my ‘escorts’ from the unit would be slumped in their chairs snoring away or glued to their personal mobile phones refusing to even look at me. I’m back on the unit now & desperately hoping that my care coordinator from my local team who has been on leave for the past week will come and rescue me on Monday, this is certainly not benefitting me in any way.
It terrifies me that this is something that just goes on up and down the country in mental health, learning disability and autism units and no doubt elderly care homes too. The disasters that have been spotted so far may be just the tip of the iceberg & there is certainly a disaster waiting to happen here.
I haven’t got a clue what to do, personally i’m not in any danger now & I haven’t got any evidence for what I’ve seen & it is all in blatant view of other staff so surely if any of them thought there was anything not right they would say or do something?
My biggest fear is that somebody will die while I’m here. When I was in hospital 8 years ago my room mate nearly died after being restrained, sedated and left unconscious, face down on a plastic pillow (saved on that occasion by the insistence of another patient that an ambulance was called)
Patient From Hell
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