You should not have to move out of Haringey to get proper mental health care

A woman came to my surgery last week (obviously cannot go into detail) but I wanted to place in public the utter poverty of treatment and support for those suffering from mental health issues and their families in Haringey.

Services just seem to diminish and diminish endlessly. The ward at St Ann’s where you can be admitted as an emergency is not suitable for many of those admitted due to an episode of one sort or another – for example an episode for someone with a long-term bipolar condition.

Such a person needs to be taken in – but where they are placed is so important. Currently it is a ward with psychotic and highly disturbed patients.

If you or I were placed in such a ward – we would be frightened – as was my constituent’s partner. He was so frightened he could not sleep at all due to the noise and disturbances from the other patients throughout the night – and of course these conditions hardly assist recovery or state of mind.

There is virtually no continuity in mental health care. Senior managers were not in the slightest bit interested in helping him move elsewhere where there was a doctor who had been dealing with him and with whom he felt comfortable. They just kept passing him on – and on – and on – from one to another. There was virtually no patient engagement.

And there is no support for his wife – the woman who came to me for help. Nobody helped her when her husband was threatening suicide. And there has been a complete lack of care for him outside of the hospital. Where they have now moved to – psychiatric nurses come to the house. In Haringey, when the threats of suicide were at there worst – all my constituent got was advice from social workers who suggested that he drink some warm milk before bed.

They have moved and now get much better care and the husband is vastly improved. You should not have to move out of Haringey to get proper mental health care. Yes – I will be raising this with the new Chair of the Mental Health Trust and the PCT when I meet with them shortly.

It is an utter disgrace – and if this was your or my loved one – we would be up in arms. I hope this new Chair wants to hear what I have to say – because this is not acceptable. And if the Government say – it’s the local PCT and Mental Health Trust who are responsible – and if the PCT and local mental Health Trust say it is the Government – I think that will demonstrate pretty conclusively that the system we have to protect us and provide our local health services stinks!