NHS Manchester Liaison Network and a Service Users Liaison meeting will tale place upon St Patrick’s Day, at 10:30am prompt Being Chaired by Coun Martin Pagel. All Users and Members of The Public Are Warmly Welcomed Refreashments Will Be Given.
For Manchester Users’ Network,Manchester Mental Health Watchdog and John Boyington CBE Head [MHIP]
How it was!
The board meetings of over 9 years, where, users, carer representatives and other representatives although not board members, were welcome to sit at the same table and participate fully in the meeting. This was very advantageous for the Trust being a service provider, it allowed the members to receive the needs of the service users, gain a considerate insight to problems and serious incidents which, members knew nothing about. It stopped duplication of services, which saved genuine efficiency savings. Also collectively improved communication, probity, transparency, joint working and bona fide user involvement.
The board meeting has seemed to decline into a feudal arrangement, with the hierarchy sitting at the table. It was sad to see this kind of superiority, inequality and exclusion. It brings back memories, when patients were not allowed to sit at the same table at meetings with service providers.
Members of the Public are only allowed to view the meeting, this also includes, groups, Users, Carers and links (Manchester Mental Health Watchdog), which have a substantial and valued interest in Mental Health providers and organisations that finance, monitor and inspect the Trust.
The Trust addressed the audience with the term “Members of the Public, which was perceived as ignoring valued representatives of groups within Mental Health in Manchester.
You can only ask questions at the latest one day before the board meeting. You are not allowed to comment at the board meetings answers or comment even if you are the author of the question! This meant that the questions were not answered adequately or parts not answered at all. e.g The question by Mainway. Taking away free tea and sandwiches! Do you think it’s fair that Directors and Managers who have many meetings and conferences also have many free lunches? This question was not answered! Another question by MUN over 82% of Mental Health Users who are charged at the Day Centres are in debt. You were not allowed to comment even though this was a very serious point that some users are now thousands of pounds in debt! It seems the Trust were defending themselves and not addressing, the views, needs, problems and facts to ascertain the correct information to improve mental health services for patients.
We are all human beings we all make mistakes and that includes Managers and Directors at board level. Allowing mistakes to be properly heard and sorted at any level in the Trust is crucial. Putting obstacles in the way leads to chaos and mistrust and above all poor mental health services.
It is certainly a worry if, when the Trust receive foundation status that the board meetings are to be arranged like this.
1] There should be twice yearly meetings where independent User Group representatives, LINKS and others can ask and discuss problems to all Board Members, (perhaps it needs a special board meeting).
2]When problems are not remedied at the Liaison meeting, the representative or group advocate should be allowed to state the unsolved problem at board level, which must be discussed adequately so a fair and reasonable decision can be made by the board.
3] The board needs to humanise the services and be more inclusive, flexible and diminish concerns by
Service Users that the trust are not showing openness, probity, equality or communication.
ALAN HARTMAN, CHAIR, MANCHESTER USERS’ NETWORK.