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Branch Response to Recent Reports in Argus on Patient Death

Nick McMaster


The death of any patient is always a tragedy, but so is the Tories' dismantling of the NHS and the pressure it puts on overstretched services.

 

The death of any patient under our care is always a tragedy. The recent case reported in the Argus is especially sad given the distressing circumstances that surrounded this death. Our thoughts and condolences go to the family and friends of Janet Muller.

 

"Our thoughts and condolences go to the friends and family of Janet Muller"

 

The reports in the Argus are scathing of the Trust, and to the public it may seem deservedly so. Yet we know that the ward concerned has devoted and talented staff who work in extremely difficult circumstances with often challenging behaviours.

 

The reward is high when patients leave the ward having made the first steps in their recovery. And the lows are crushing when those entrusted in our care - with whom we have often built up strong therapeutic relationships - lose their lives. For staff to be able to accommodate both those experiences and all those in-between requires great strength, dedication and an ability to always seek to learn.

 

"What cannot be underestimated, and what the Argus missed, are the wider circumstances that wards in hospitals in mental health trusts find themselves in."

 

What cannot be underestimated, and what the Argus missed, are the wider circumstances that wards in hospitals in mental health trusts find themselves in. Mental health services are underfunded in comparison to general medicine; the austerity measures of the government have contributed to an increase in mental health difficulties in the wider population, resulting in further strain on under resourced services; and the ideological drive by the Tories to dismantle the NHS by attacking pensions and terms and conditions, has seen services lose good staff as trusts struggle to recruit and retain.

 

With the current attack of the Trade Union Bill and the end of student bursaries, the NHS is set for further attempts to erode this great, valued and crucial life-saving institution.

 

"Whilst a trust might hold the key to an individual's care, the Tories, sadly, hold the key to the future of the NHS."

 

Whilst these policies may not have been directly the cause of a tragic death, we can be sure that these wider factors make an NHS that is increasingly less safe and un-therapeutic for some of the most vulnerable people in our society. Whilst a trust might hold the key to an individual's care, the Tories, sadly, hold the key to the future of the NHS.

 

Nick McMaster, Branch Secretary