Guernsey's 'New' Mental Health Law - Where is it?

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Guernsey's 'New' Mental Health Law - Where is it?

Post by Sandra James on Sun 08 Apr 2012, 3:18 pm

I came to Guernsey for an interview in 1976 for a Ward Sister's post in acute psychiatry. Knowing the Law was different from the UK, I asked about the local Mental Health Act. I was informed they we currently working to the 1939 (Amended 1959) Law but it was soon to be updated.

It is imperative nursing staff know the details of the law to ensure no patient is detained illegally. In 1982 the Health Advisory Service came to inspect the mental health services - they also asked about the Act - once again to be assured it was under review.

Here we are in 2012 with no new Mental Health Act to protect our most vulnerable people. It is still legal in Guernsey to compulsorily detain people in hospital without any means of appeal. The current Law is unfit for modern day purpose, and wholly unacceptable in the 21st century.

Sitting alongside the new law is a Code of Practice - I have recently discovered that within that Code - Section 52 - Nurses Holding Powers. This provision allows an appropriately qualified mental health nurse to detain a voluntary patient should they believe, on leaving the hospital a patient may be at risk to themselves or others, this detention is to allow for a psychiatrist to assess the patients mental health state.

This is a positive provision, in England it is for an 6 hour period, in Scotland the nurses believed this was an unacceptable long period of time and negotiated it down to 2 hours.

During a presentation to In 2009 it was proposed a holding provision order of 6 hours, some nurses thought that was too long for our small Island. There are those that believe these concerns were taken on board only to discover in the latest 'edition of the Code of Practice ' proposes a detention of up to 8 hours.

I am at loss to understand the rationale for this proposal ? By my reckoning you get could to the UK and back within that time scale!!! Rant

Sandra James

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Re: Guernsey's 'New' Mental Health Law - Where is it?

Post by Thistle on Sun 08 Apr 2012, 11:21 pm

it isnt only the mental health law that needs updating sandra,there is no aftercare for people with acute alcohol probs..they are put into the ward at the castel detoxed and then thrown back out onto the streets yet again.people say there is AA but not everybody wants that kind of help..day centre does nothing to help the indivduals with alcohol probs and as for cdat meetings a waste of time ..the top guy there condones drinking and still attending meetings..how do i know you may ask ..my partner recently deceased went through all these things still ended up drinking himself to death .

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Re: Guernsey's 'New' Mental Health Law - Where is it?

Post by Sandra James on Mon 09 Apr 2012, 11:17 am

Morning Thistle
I set up and developed the Drug and Alcohol Service here in Guernsey many years ago, with very limited resources. I was fortunate to have won the first ICCI Bursary, this enabled me to research centers of excellence the UK and the USA.

One essential change I would make to the current provisions of treatment and after care would be to consolidate the 3 services provided by HSSD, Drug Concern and Guernsey Alcohol & Drug Advisory Service.
In our small jurisdiction it makes no sense to have these 3 services duplicating their efforts and at times competing for clients. Also how do other professionals determine the most appropriate service for referral?

The States give indirect funding to both DC and GADAS - why not facilitate these services working together and sharing expertise - ideally from one site. Just imagine the savings in resources, increased response rates and other efficiencies.

There are many advantages to these services working in collaboration, not least avoid duplication and the obvious avoidance of addicts moving from one service to another.

We have no register locally - so unless we know the scale of the problem have we can begin to plan for effective future services. Statistics have little validity unless they are transparent - not sure if this data is shared across the 3 services.

My experience in dealing with patients/clients proved to me no one approach to treatment and aftercare is suited to everyone. For some AA is a life line and some are able to cope (just) as controlled drinkers. However I believe total abstinence is the only successful outcome for alcohol and drug dependent individuals.

Really sad to hear of your personal experiences - have you thought of utilizing your experiences to lobby for improvements in the service - i do not venture that comment in any condescending manner.


Last edited by Sandra James on Mon 09 Apr 2012, 4:46 pm; edited 1 time in total

Sandra James

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Re: Guernsey's 'New' Mental Health Law - Where is it?

Post by Rolf Martin on Mon 09 Apr 2012, 4:00 pm

Sandra

Yet another example of vital issues that have been put on the back-burner for too long.

Have been closely involved with several unfortunate people; result..frustration at lack of co-ordination. Agree with you on consolidation of services.

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Re: Guernsey's 'New' Mental Health Law - Where is it?

Post by Thistle on Tue 10 Apr 2012, 5:10 pm

i will consider your suggestion sandra and thank you for your reply..i am still in the greiving process at the moment but once the new states have time to settle in i will look to asking what can be done.i think your idea of having all the services together is a good one..i also feel having had experience with my partner as an inpatient at the castel that while the staff did what they could there was very little help with actual rehabilitation.having patients with alcohol problems in the same ward as phsyiciatric patients and drug addicts is imo not the best of solutions..

Thistle

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