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Failed care for sufferers of Schizophrenia

Posted on November 15, 2012 at 4:33 AM Comments comments (98)
In 2011 Rethink Mental Illness set up an independent commission led by Professor Robin Murray, to look into how the needs of people diagnosed with schizophrenia are serviced in secondary care. They interviewed both experts in the field and people who have lived with this illness. Tere were 2500 respondents to an online survey. 

Some 220.000 people in England are diagnosed with Schizophrenia. These people are cared by a system that the independent commission found was "broken and demoralised" and "does not deliver the quality of treatment that is needed for people to recover".

Some of the problems identified by the commission:
  • the wards are anti-therapeutic and frightening places
  • nurses are overwhelmed
  • medication is prioritised at the expense of psychological interventions
  • not having a say in choice of psychiatrist
  • families of sufferers have to battle for basic services
  • poor access to general practitioners and general hospital care
  • a fragmentation of services which prevents people from continuing to be treated by the professionals they trust
  • Early Intervention in Psychosis services are being cut

The commission also heard that "good care delivered by kind, compassionate practitioners can make all the difference.(...) Time and time again we heard of a transformation whereby an apparently downward course was reversed by a nurse, doctor, peer or therapist who tool the time to listen and understand."

Some facts about severe mental illness
  • sufferers die 15-20 years earlier than non-clinical population
  • the NHS currently spends £11.8 billion a year on treatment
  • compulsory treatment is on the rise. Levels of coercion increase every year
  • only 1 in 10 get access to psychological therapies
  • carers (family members) are not treated as partners and are not receiving support

America's medicated children

Posted on October 16, 2012 at 6:27 AM Comments comments (1)
Documentary maker Louis Theroux got an unique insight into the world of children medicated for conduct disorders. The film is available here.