Tuesday 9 September 2008

One Flew Over Out Of The Cuckoo's Nest

The BBC’s ‘Today’ has picked up on yesterday’s sickening discovery of just how well psychiatric hospitals contain the risk to the public of the inmates they house.
There were at least 116 escapes from medium and low secure psychiatric hospitals and escorting staff last year, a BBC investigation has found.

Some of the units held patients who had committed serious and violent crimes.
Yet they still met the requirements to be housed in these establishments. Sounds a little odd, doesn’t it, in a country where the morbid fear of ‘risk’ can shut down a bar over its staircase ...?

And doesn’t the ‘at least’ worry anyone? Either they’ve escaped, or they’ve not! Or is it that some institutions don’t have accurate records of who they are warehousing in the first place!
Four patients remain at large. That compares with just five escapes from prisons and escorting staff in 2007.
Four…? That’s the official figure, naturally. Perhaps they haven’t escaped at all. Perhaps they are posing as staff…?

I seems the Hayes has form, too:
Two other cases which have raised security concerns at the Hayes, included an incident in which patient Tamer Mahmood was taken to St Werburghs City Farm - a place popular with families and schoolchildren.

The farm said it was not informed he was on the sex offenders register and despite being accompanied by staff Mahmood absconded for 17 hours.
You take a sex offender to a petting farm?

Why, in the name of God…?
The Hayes Hospital admitted they may have been wrong not to inform the farm of the patient's criminal history on this occasion. Even so they said they might in future withhold such information depending on individual circumstances.
They need to be told what their priorities are - and safety of the public comes first, particularly if they wish to sup from the public teat – which shouldn't include covering their blushes when yet another dangerous loon skips to freedom.
Earlier in March another patient from the Hayes, who was allowed a pint at a local pub every week under supervision, became aggressive.

Following these three incidents Carol Povey, head of adult services at the National Autistic Society, was asked whether security should be stepped up, but said this was not necessarily the best course of action.
What was…? Hugs ‘n cuddles? It seems the lunatics really are running the institution!
"The Hayes is not a prison. It is a hospital which specialises in working with people with autistic spectrum disorders. Our primary aim is therapeutic, to help people grow in their independence," he said.

"People who live here are here because they've been assessed.

"There has been an incident which was absolutely tragic, but we're working with complex people. We try to get the balance between therapy and security and it's extremely difficult to do that."
Oh, spare me! What was the 14 year old, a ‘less-complex person’, and so of less importance that the ‘right’ of your precious inmate to watch all the porn & horror he could get his hands on?

A clue to how widespread those skewed priorities are is displayed here:
One senior nurse from a medium secure unit who has worked in the field for more than 10 years expressed his concerns about security.

"One of the units I worked in recently was not fit for purpose.

"We said to our trust that we wanted to have bars put on windows that patients could possibly escape from and managers didn't do it because they said it was aesthetically unpleasing and could stifle the therapeutic nature of the unit and they didn't have the finances - until three people broke out and then they had the finances to sort it out."
If hospitals such as this one consider that their priorities are the comfort and self-esteem of the patients, regardless of the danger they pose, then they are not the right places for anyone deemed a danger, and any patients deemed to pose a danger should be transferred to high-security hospitals forthwith. If there aren’t enough, build more. Immediately.

And yes, if that means that prisons have to take up the slack for the duration, so be it. The safety of the public is paramount.

Alternatively, these caring professionals can opt to take home a dangerous mental patient each, to stay with their family until the new secure units are built. It seems only fair they take the same risks as the rest of us...

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