If at first

I was gutted to hear that a young man we have been campaigning for as part of #7daysofaction has had to go back into the unit that he had spent so many years locked away in. And I have no doubt that the Director’s of the for profit private hospital that he has returned to will be as upset as I am that things didn’t work out the way that we hoped.  

It reminded me of when my step-son left the John Townsend Trust in Margate. He’d been subject to some appalling standards of care and we had decided to move him. And with the full support of the local authority and his CHC case manager we got him a new place. A transition process was set up and the new team spent weeks preparing for the move. This involved his new team spending a week at the John Townsend Trust getting to know my step-son and the way that he liked things to be done. I think it is fair to say that the reception they got was unhelpful to the point of being obstructive. Because all the team at the John Townsend Trust could see was the money they were losing. For them my step-son wasn’t a person with the right to a good life, he was a commodity, an income stream.

Now I don’t know how co-operative, the team at the hospital, to which he has returned, have been in all of this. They may have been brilliant, they may not have been. And none of us know if the new provider, was able to do the work they needed to do in order to make his return to the community the success that he and his family need it to be. We don’t really know why things went wrong and we don’t know what it will take for it to work next time.

What we do know is that if everybody gets it right it this can work, but that getting this right self-evidently isn’t easy. It will require the whole hearted commitment of everybody concerned. We might also want to be mindful of the fact that somebody somewhere has to be willing to try again. Maybe it would be the provider that tried and failed this time maybe not, few of us are in a position to make that judgement. But what this young man doesn’t need, is a situation where nobody is willing to risk being his provider, because of the criticism they would get for having tried and failed. What he needs is for everybody to dust themselves off and work out what has to be done, so that he and they can try again.


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