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"My care at St Andrews and elsewhere."

About: Cheswold Park Hospital Cygnet Health Care Limited St Andrew's Healthcare

(as a service user),

Over the last 3 years I have been detained in 3 psychiatric hospitals and before that I have been in and out numerous times due to my weakness for drugs and non compliance with medication.

I would describe some of my behaviour as evil in terms of aggressive and abusive behaviour toward the staff and patients in many hospitals but more so at Cygnet Derby Low Secure before I was moved to Cheswold Park Medium Secure Doncaster.

It was easy to obtain drugs in Cygnet Derby and to a certain degree I sincerely believe it was turned a blind eye to.

Personally I feel that as concerning as that sounds it is part of the attitude I have today in my acceptance that I need to abstain from what I have been advised for years causes me to become ill. 

At Cheswold Park under one of the consultants I was given a medication free trial at my request and became ill.

After a brief time in seclusion I accepted I was ill, recommenced medication and after a couple of changes and reductions at my request and increases with the Drs advice I made the turnaround that enabled me to move to Low Secure at St Andrews Northampton. 

I put my current attitude down to such person centred care from the MDT at Cheswold Park which allowed me a medication free trial that I have requested for nearly 10 years beforehand. 

After that I feel far more confident that the medication I am prescribed  is beneficial to me as well as the advice to stay away from illicit substances.

At Cygnet Derby I wrote a book and used my benefits to save up and start the process of having it self published. I'm still on benefits as the book isn't successful although I'll keep trying.

At Cheswold Park I was enabled to finish having it published through use of the Internet and communicating with the publishing company. 

I was told at my assessment before coming to St Andrews that I would be able to use the Internet to continue communicating with the publisher of my book and potential future publishers. When I arrived I was told that it wouldn't be possible because of Internet restrictions.

I have Internet access now in the form of a smartphone although not by simple reasoning. I had to write a complaint and a smartphone is better than nothing but I was still misinformed otherwise I wouldn't have accepted the bed here.

In some ways, St Andrews Low Secure is more restrictive than Medium Secure at Cheswold Park and definitely more so than Cygnet Derby. Not in terms of the availability of drugs but in terms of Internet restrictions and Section 17 leave too.

To summarise, what has mainly worked for me is that my opinion in regards to my treatment mattered at Cheswold Park.

My request for a medication free trial, to have my meds changed and reduced led me to no other choice but to listen to the RC and MDT's advice and opinion.

Being able to get drugs at Cygnet Derby and messing myself up so badly to be moved to Medium Secure has given me experience of being almost nice to be around since being clean as well as occupying myself productively, along with the embarrassment of so much of my past behaviour.

Although I can't condone being misled into coming to St Andrews, intentionally or not, or the restrictions, I have been able to put a lot of what I have belatedly learned into practice. I haven't been given any risk behaviours for being inappropriate, overfamillier, rude or insulting in any way. If anything I have learned a lot about the benefits of patience and tolerance and dealing with my frustrations in a positive manner. 

Whatever the intentions of any hospital it is better to get out and stay out. There is far more to be achieved, far less restrictions, necessary or not and although I would prefer to be at another hospital than here that hasn't misled me or is so restrictive I'd rather have my freedom.



Response from Cygnet Health Care Limited We have made a change

At Cygnet Hospital Derby it is important that we strike the right balance between security and our goal to reduce restrictive practices. We certainly don’t turn a blind eye to the threat of drugs being brought into the hospital.

Following the lessons learned from the incident referred to above, which we believe was what is termed a ‘legal high’, searches and drug testing occur regularly at the hospital. Another action taken as a result of this particular incident was to set up a contract with Birmingham University to test substances so that they can be identified whether or not they are designer drugs.

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Response from Chris Higgins, Nurse Manager, Men's Low Secure IPU, St Andrew's Healthcare We are preparing to make a change

We are sorry that that you have not had a smooth transition in terms of the issues you have raised. If you have been misled or there was a misunderstanding regarding access to the internet then we apologise. Patients at St. Andrews do have access to the internet but it has been identified that the process for getting access to the internet is too slow, it is through this learning that we are now able to speed up this process for new and existing patients. Furthermore there were issues surrounding patients access to computers on the ward due to moving into a new building which has slowed down the process as well. We now have computers on the ward for patients to have access although they still need to be set up by the IT department. As a result, it should be much quicker for patients to have access to the internet. Patients do have access to their smart phones when on leave and can access the internet then but we are currently reviewing whether patients can have their smart mobile phones on the ward.

With regards to the section 17 leave this is done in an individualised graded exposure approach to allow for patients to have the proper support to prevent any relapse and to make sure that patients are coping with their leave and community exposure. There are many reasons for this including potential risks and it would be unprofessional of us to give patients unlimited unescorted leave before assessing how a patient is coping and managing this.

We would like to congratulate you on your management of your mental health and it sounds as if you have done a lot of hard work and come a long way in recognising your risk issues that can cause relapse and we hope very much to work as best we can with you, listening to and taking on board your views in the future

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