"Our son's care"

About: North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust / Adult mental health

(as a carer),

Our son has paranoid schizophrenia and has very complex needs. He worries that people are trying to control him through the TV and radio and is generally very difficult to care for at home. He now lives in supported housing and we're generally happy with his care. It's not perfect but he is a fairly difficult case and we think they do their best for him.

The one thing we do get very frustrated with is the struggle we have to be heard. As carers, and parents, our views should be considered very important and we certainly want to be involved in his care. That's the main reason we're now engaged with the North Staffs Combined consultations, because we want to have a say in the decisions the trust make in delivering care to adults with mental health problems.

The trusts 5 key objectives should include something that recognises the value of listening to carers, and using their unique knowledge to provide the best care possible to the person they care for. There is an entire unpaid workforce out there, who provide care to people day in, day out and they're not recognised anywhere nearly enough. If we all stopped doing what we're doing, the NHS would have to spend millions of pounds more money on caring for the members of the community who are particularly in need.

We would like carers to be seen as far more important than they are now seen. If the trust is really committed to listening to carers, why not make this one of the trusts key objectives? Doesn't that make sense?

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Response from North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust We are preparing to make a change

Thank you very much for taking the time to post your comment at the recent engagement event at the Willfield Centre. A strong theme from the day was the need to consider the impact the emerging options will have on the health and well being of carers. A commitment was given from the Trust that implications for carers will be included in the options.

All comments are currently being collated and will be used to inform the development of the options for mental health services. Once the options have been finalised you will be informed that the options are ready for formal consultation. We hope that you will continue to provide your feedback which will inform the future direction of services for Combined Healthcare.

With kind regards