Sunday, 5 January 2014

A sense of Déjá vu in this first blog posting of 2014

A Happy New Year to you all. I hope to be able to keep writing a blog every week, and hope you will continue to support me and read each weeks musing. I don’t usually have any problems about what to write, but as I was thinking about this week’s blog, I had a strong sense of having had similar thoughts before. And although it was good to see Fergus was back with his mates last week, spending the winter months in the woods and fields around Rockcliffe, there was something more to this feeling.

Partly this sense of déjá vu was prompted by the weather. In last week’s blog I mentioned about the folks in the South who had suffered power outages and flooding. Well on Friday we had our own flooding here. The high tide was 9 meters, higher than it had ever been in 2013. As the rain fell, and the wind blew, the sea broke through the wall between us and the estuary, and rushed upwards towards the house flooding the fields next door. 

Thankfully we were fine, unlike our friends at the Anchor Hotel. There the sea came right over the wall and straight into their front bar. By yesterday they were back in business operating from the bar with the real log fire at the rear of the pub. 

Also yesterday, I read with interest the Government’s announcement that they were to spend £25 million on placing more mental health nurses in police stations and courts. It’s hoped that the scheme will be fully rolled out to all of England by 2017. I think this approach to ensuring good mental health care is long overdue proper investment. Similar schemes have been operating previously, but have often been limited in scope and reach by a lack of funding. Indeed was part of a Diversion (out of the criminal justice system) when I worked for a mental health trust and sat as a Magistrate in Bolton – and that was nearly 20 years ago.

The Department of Health reports that many people in prison have a mental health problem, a substance misuse problem or a learning disability. One in four lives with a mental health illness such as depression or psychosis. It has been estimated that police officers spend 15%-25% of their time dealing with suspects with mental health problems often with very unsatisfactory outcomes for all those involved.

Whilst having more mental health nurses working in liaison and diversion services will hopefully improve these outcomes it will also help support the polices public protection work. Which is somewhat ironic given that police put on extra patrols at many of the Emergency Departments in hospitals around Greater Manchester over the Christmas and New Year period. In the Trust I am currently involved in there had been 200 assaults reported by staff over the past 24 months. There is both a need for a police and a mental health nursing presence in many A+E departments, which sounds like a scheme waiting to be announced.

And announcements there were aplenty of those who received a New Years Honours. It was great to see David Dalton, Chief Executive Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust receive a knighthood. Many congratulations to him and all those who received recognition for their contributions to creating a better society.