"Cuts to Social Inclusion and Well-Being Service"

About: Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust / Adult mental health (inpatient)

(as the patient),

Once again Notts Healthcare Trust has shown total disregard for service users and demonstrated a complete lack of understanding or care for those of us with chronic mental health problems.

The Social Inclusion and Wellbeing Service, that provides essential support and activities for many service users is being decimated, with many front-line staff being made redundant. Despite the fact that many of us rely on (and, dare I say it, enjoy) the groups run by SIWB, and despite the fact that they provide excellent value for money in terms of keeping sufferers well, stable and hence out of hospital, the service will cease without any consultation of interested parties.

This will have a seriously detrimental affect on the quality of my life and that of many others.

Shame on you Nottinghamshire Healthcare Trust.

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Responses

Response from Jane Danforth, Involvement Team , Involvement & Experience, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust

picture of Jane Danforth

I read your posting with concern today. I just want you to know that I will pass it onto the manager of the service for further comment.

It is important we listen to feedback even if it is negative. I am sorry you feel let down and I can assure you we will come back to you with a reply.

Thank you for taking the time to tell us how you feel.

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Response from Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust

Many thanks for your posting, we are always pleased to receive feedback whether it is good or bad.

I am sorry that you feel so let down by our review of the Social Inclusion and Well Being Service. The decision to reduce this service is not one that was taken lightly and we have tried to make other provision for people to access support and opportunities in mainstream or third sector settings.

The decision to review the service has been going on for some time and implementation has been delayed due to the merger of the City and County AMH services. You are right to say that there is a financial element to the changes, but there is also a realisation that support for people’s wellbeing and recovery is not always dependant on a building. Some of the groups will continue. Tim Wood is leaving the Trust to found Nottingham Focus on Wellbeing (NFOW) which will host IT classes, English and Maths classes, a social drama group and a luncheon club.

The Recovery College is continually reviewing the courses it offers and also offers a safe social place for people to meet up and learn. The Recovery College can be accessed by people who want to attend courses and complete personal development learning plans. In addition our Involvement Centre has a host of social events and groups, linked to the involvement work they do that you may well enjoy. You are welcome to attend the Involvement Centre at any time to find out what is on offer. I know change is difficult and we appreciate your concerns but I hope you will try some of the other things on offer. We are still keen to support people in their recovery.

I hope this goes some way to reassure you.

Nick Daibell

General Manager

Adult Mental Health Services

Update posted by fubar (the patient)

Mr Daibell

Thank you for your response. I am not convinced or impressed by your arguments and would point out the following:

SIWB activities were unique. There is nothing else available specifically for mental health patients, that is ongoing and regular, in a suitable environment with staff experienced in mental health issues. Mainstream courses only last a few weeks each term and can be incredibly expensive. The third sector has lost a massive amount of funding and has cut it's own provision down to the bone, creative activities were among the first to be axed or became user-led and folded within months. (Users of these services are generally not well enough to take on the responsibility and pressure of leading a group and have to give up.)

You say "support for people’s wellbeing and recovery is not always dependant on a building". It might not be "always", but for many it is. Besides, it is not the building that is important to us but what goes on within it. The Involvement Team and the Recovery College both depend on a building (and one that has such disturbing associations for some that they cannot enter it), why are they the special case or can we expect them to be meeting al fresco soon?

Tim Wood and his FOCUS team are indeed doing a wonderful job and I know they would like to expand the activities they offer. But until they get the funding required that will not happen. I hope the Trust will do all it can to help and support FOCUS.

By axing the vital SIWB groups, you have effectively withdrawn our treatment and yet no-one in a management position has had the courtesy (and possibly the courage) to inform us in writing of this decision and the reasons for it. Instead it has been left to the soon to be redundant group leaders to break the news and sit with service users as they weep about the loss of their vital lifeline or try to explain to bewildered, vulnerable group members that there will no longer be activities for them to access.

Obviously service users were not consulted because you know what our response would be, as would be evident from our comments given at the so-called "audit" last year. And as my psychiatrist frequently points out the importance to my wellbeing of my attendance at the SIWB groups, I very much doubt that the clinicians at the sharp end of our care and treatment have been consulted either.

The Social Inclusion and Wellbeing Service has always been something of a Cinderella service within the Trust, being shoved from pillar to post in recent years. It has appeared that no-one in senior management has ever fully understood or appreciated the work the team do or the huge difference it makes to the quality of life and the wellbeing of so many service users.

Our mental health WILL suffer as a result of the Trust's decision. We just have to hope that you have not decided to axe all the inpatient beds and outpatient clinics when someone has to pick up the pieces.

Response from Jane Danforth, Involvement Team , Involvement & Experience, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust

picture of Jane Danforth

Dear Fubar

I read your reply with concern and would like to invite you to get in touch with us to talk about the many issues raised in your posting.

There are several options of how you can do this:

1 Contact PALS (patient advice & liaison service) Freephone 0800 015 3367

2 Contact Complaints (service liaison) 0115 9934542

3 Contact Jane Marlow - City Service Manager 0115 9934586

4 Contact Nick Daibell - Adult Mental Health General Manager 0115 969 1300 -Ex 14111

We do appreciate you taking the time to tell us where services have not met your expectations and the impact on the lives of individuals. By receiving feedback whether it be good or bad this we can learn from the people who use our services and hear about what treatment and activities they value most.

I am very sorry you feel so unsupported by our Trust and I hope you take up the opportunity to discuss it in more detail and to share your opinions with key members of staff in our Trust.

Yours Sincerely

Jane

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Update posted by fubar (the patient)

Jane,

Sadly my anxiety is such that I have great difficulty communicating by telephone and will not be able to take you up on your suggestion. In any event, the proposed changes have already come into place in our services and I am seeing what I consider to be a detrimental impact on my mental health.

With regards to PALS, I also sent a comment on the closure of the group to PALS and received the following response

"Thank you for your email. I have liaised with the management of the area and have been informed that you have already received a comprehensive reply from the Chief Executive of Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, Patient Opinion and our Communications department. I'm afraid there is nothing further to add at this point."

At that point I had not heard from the Chief Executive (I had to chase up this response), nor the Communications Department and most worryingly, I had always assumed comments posted on Patient Opinion were anonymous so was somewhat dismayed to see that my comments to PALS were assumed to be from the person on Patients Opinion. Or are the comments we post on here not anonymous?

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