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SALFORD SUICIDE MAN TURNED AWAY BY MENTAL HEALTH TRUST AND ARRESTED
 

Star date: 7th November 2012

A Salford Star Exclusive

MENTAL HEALTH HELL IN SALFORD: PART 1

A Salford man with a history of mental health and self harm problems was refused help by Greater Manchester West Mental Health Trust workers at Cromwell House in Eccles. Instead, the police were called and he was arrested.

"The lack of care is evident" says his partner "What do they want? For him to successfully kill himself and then he's off their books? And one less gobby person to fight to save the drop-ins."

Why were his pleas for help ignored? Could there be a political dimension?

Full shocking story here…


MENTAL HEALTH HELL IN SALFORD: PART ONE

Maybe to Salford City Council, the City Mayor and the Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust campaigners against cuts to mental health services are just an annoyance. What, with waving banners, and going on marches, and talking to the media about `broken promises' to protect the most vulnerable people in society... it really doesn't look good.

The City Mayor, Ian Stewart, only last week wrote that "I am determined to ensure that council services are protected for the most vulnerable people in our community, including those with mental health difficulties. Misleading and irresponsible information has caused needless concern to some of these service users, their carers and families…"

For Ian Stewart - who we don't think has mental health issues – such statements are easy to make. For those actually living with mental health problems, and trying to cope with the stress of potential cuts to services that they rely on, it's another matter entirely. As shocking recent incidents show.

Mental health service user Rob, from Irlam, has already attempted to take his own life many times this year, and Greater Manchester West Mental Health Trust workers are well aware of his severe problems. He has a care plan in place with a whole list of crisis items to alert those workers to potential incidents. These include thoughts of acts of self harm, a withdrawn mood and increased alcohol consumption.

Rob is currently in transition between care co-ordinators, and both his current care worker and his care worker-to-be had, we understand, ample warnings that these triggers were about to be pulled, before Rob was rejected at the door of Cromwell House on Wednesday 24th October. Rather than helping a desperate man, instead, the police were called and he was arrested. Less than a week later, he tried to kill himself.

"Rob had been in distress for days, he'd been taken into A&E on the Saturday with a serious self harming incident and was in a very low state of mind" recalls his partner and carer, Vee Ball "He'd been into Cromwell House on the Monday, voiced his suicidal tendencies to his care co-ordinator to be, to which nothing was done. Other users had flagged up concern for him because he was becoming increasingly withdrawn. Again, nothing was done.

"On the Wednesday itself when the incident occurred it could have been avoided because a service user went to his existing care co-ordinator and stated his concern but she actually said he was nothing to do with her any more" Vee adds "Rob felt very upset and rejected by this and he attempted to call her from home later that afternoon after he had been to the drop-in. During the conversation she put the phone down on him and this provoked him to go direct to the premises to seek help. He charged out of the house in a state of distress."

Rob drove to Cromwell House, and in the car park began drinking with the intention of killing himself, Vee explains. Instead, he decided to seek help and pressed the buzzer on the entry system of the building. He wasn't allowed entry, the police were called and he was arrested.

"He was removed initially because they were flagging him up as a danger rather than taking him in, assessing him first and ascertaining his state of mind before taking any drastic action" says Vee "They got him arrested without any entry or without speaking to him which is diabolical. He has no history of violence at all."

Friend and fellow service user, Steve Cullen, arrived on the scene to see Rob being confronted by police…

"Vee phoned me to say Rob that had just stormed out of the house saying he'd had enough" Steve recalls "I said `Don't worry, I'll go to Cromwell House and let the doctors know what's going on and try and get some help and support for him'. But as I got there I saw four police officers surrounding Rob. 

"I went over to try and explain the situation to the police but all I got told was `Go away or you're going to get yourself arrested as well'" he adds "I tried to explain that Rob had mental health issues and why he was going to Cromwell House but kept getting told to go away."

Steve tried to speak to Rob's doctor at Cromwell House but was told by a senior Community Psychiatric Nurse that he was with another client…

"He said `It's nothing to do with us now, it's a police matter, it's coming up to 5pm and we've got to close the door'. And he told me to go" says Steve "Next thing I know another police van turned up and Rob was put in the back of it."

Rob was not arrested for any act of aggression. He went willingly into the van and wasn't handcuffed. Nor was he subsequently charged with any public order offence.

He was taken to Swinton Police Station and released at midnight, charged with drink driving… "He only had a drink whilst he was sat in the car park because he was going to take an overdose with the alcohol" says Steve "but he wasn't actually driving the vehicle at the time." 

To recap, as we understand it... A man with severe mental health issues asks his care workers for help which he doesn't get. He goes down to their HQ intending to kill himself outside. But instead decides to seek help by buzzing at the door. He's not allowed into the building. No-one assesses his state of mind. No-one refers to his personal crisis care plan. Instead the police are called and he is arrested. But not for any aggressive act, only on the assumption of drink driving. People might well ask what the hell is going on? And what the mental health services are there for, if not to help desperate people.

"Nobody contacted Rob from Cromwell House to check on his well being nor the following day to asses the difficulties going forward" says Vee "It was Friday at 5pm when I got a phone call flagging up Rob as a security issue. He's been barred from Cromwell House for a month, and can't even go to the drop-in - for coming to the door asking for help?"

If this was the end of the shocking story it would be bad enough. A sorry tale of what could be perceived as neglect of a service user with severe mental health problems. Unfortunately this is only the beginning…

It's only the beginning because the carers and service users involved in this shocking episode also happen to be very publicly fighting cuts to mental health services and drop-in groups in Salford…

…Two days after Rob's incident at Cromwell House, all drop-ins in the city were shut down. And within a week, another service user, dismayed at the drop-in closures, tried to kill herself. Last week, Rob also attempted to take his life.

See Part Two… click here "It's like Mafia sanctions on certain people to eradicate them and divide and conquer" says Rob's partner Vee Ball "The lack of care is evident. What do they want? For him to successfully kill himself and then he's off their books? And one less gobby person to fight to save the drop-ins…"


• The Salford Star put all these allegations to the Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust.

On this particular episode of our article, Gill Green, Director of Nursing and Operations responded…

"We are concerned that service users and carers have made these allegations against our staff. While we cannot go into individual cases or matters which are subject to police investigation, I would like to reassure the people of Salford that we treat all our service users with compassion, respect, dignity and professionalism. We would never turn someone away who is in genuine need of our help.

"That said, we do have a zero tolerance attitude to violence and aggression towards staff and they have a right to feel safe when they are at work. In extreme cases, the police are called if behaviour becomes threatening or dangerous to the individual and those around them…The safety and security of staff, service users and carers remain our top priority. We are looking carefully at what has happened to see if there are any lessons to be learned…"

salfordwest wrote
at 8:30:23 AM on Saturday, June 28, 2014
Well i can confirm nothing has changed at Cromwell house things are actually getting A lot worse and a lot of mistakes are being made mainly due to all the cuts.
 
Stuart wrote
at 9:06:27 AM on Tuesday, April 15, 2014
I feel terrible for the poor guy. However, the sad fact is that he wouldn't have been arrested without good reason. I think there are some "facts" that need to be corrected in this article. I can tell you this from personal experience working in mental health.
 
Xan wrote
at 7:28:55 AM on Tuesday, April 2, 2013
I feel for Rob, he feels he is not taken seriously, a very distressing feeling and this in itself is not taken seriously by poorly trained mental health services staff. An unethical service response. The lack of support Rob has received, alcohol is a social drug, a fixed attitude more than concern for the motivation to take it, means Rob is yet again not taken seriously. Don't blame the staff! If the governing body of CMHT has failed in its managerial duty to provide an effective service for its users, the users should start to think about an alternative service and how it will operate. By providing job opportunities, offering £120,000 per year for an elite and mercurial management post? I think not. Get serious, the management can't cut it, they don't have the experience of mental health issues and they don't respect anyone who has. If we, the mental health sufferers, were properly understood, we too would be offered training and respect to devise our own contribution in an organisation that responded by supporting real change. The money is out there for exactly this behaviour... it is real change waiting to happen.
 
Mother of son with MH problems. wrote
at 1:23:16 AM on Friday, January 25, 2013
It is not possible to correctly assess the mental health state of a patient who is intoxicated, as it appeared to be in Rob's case.In A&E, he would have been encouraged to initially "sleep it off", given plenty of water and something to eat, then an assessment carried out later. At Cromwell House, a drop-in centre/community outpost, this would not have been possible, as it was not equipped for these situations, and the safety of the patients and staff present would have had to be taken into consideration primarily.Therefore, Rob, admittedly being intoxicated, posed a threat to all, including himself.If a person is drunk and threatening on a street, the police are normally called, not just by nursing/medical staff, but by any responsible person viewing this. Rob presumably had a crisis management plan, where he could access some support, if feeling suicidal.This must have been documented,conveyed to him, and if Rob did not follow it, then he was responsible for any actions he took, and their consequences.If he did follow the plans agreed, and they were not adhered to by staff, then fitness for their jobs should be investigated. However, let's not blame either Rob or the staff for their reactions at the time of this unfortunate incident, as it is well known that hospital services, especially in mental health, are seriously depleted, and the responsibility lies with a government who are cutting NHS resources for people like Rob to obtain help.Should there have been someone to whom Rob could have referred, and received help from, beforehand, he would not have needed to "storm out" of his house, drive a car, then get drunk in the car, before going to the door of Cromwell House.Perhaps if he had not drunk anything, but simply gone there, (although I admittedly cannot imagine Rob's state of mind at that time,) this situation may not have arisen and he would have been allowed in to talk about his plight. Think, what would have happened should Rob have been allowed into the building, whilst intoxicated? How would other patients, possibly attempting to stop drinking themselves, have been affected? (I am attempting to see both sides.) As previously stated, a more empirical view is needed. Do not blame Rob for his actions, nor the staff at Cromwell House. Rob acted from frustration and desperation, the nurses from assuring safety inside, for both patients and staff. Instead of cutting down on staff and closing venues, the NHS should be organising more community support and crisis intervention, by recruiting more staff, especially the crisis teams in the community,a great service, which supports vulnerable people, at home, and also prevents unnecessary admissions to already overpopulated mental health units, which are also grossly understaffed.These units could cause anxious new arrivals to become even more distressed, due to the nature of the conditions of resident patients. Again, these situations are not the fault of the overworked and understaffed mental health services,nor the community patients who obviously react in a risky manner, due to their understandable frustration that they are not receiving the care they merit. The government of this country needs to peruse the increasing numbers of its citizens who are experiencing mental health problems, and provide for these, using more of its financial resources for staff, services and support, rather than promoting "Great Britain", such as the incredible sums spent to furnish the 2012 Olympics.(OK, so I'm a killjoy!)but we first need to prioritise our own vulnerable people, before considering the show we make to the rest of the World. Perhaps firstly, the government should consider cutting down the number of non-clinical middle-managers in the NHS,who have no definable role, other than having a nominated "title", organising meetings,with no positive and defined conclusions; where new, largely useless roles are created,in order to keep a manager in a job.This alone could possibly free up a few million pounds a year. A drop in the ocean, but however, a start.
 
wrote
at 2:54:22 PM on Wednesday, November 7, 2012
rob in this article is my uncle and its a disgrace how he has been treated by the mental health team as hes condition is very complex and very serious. Hes applied for a special funding as the mental health teams he has available are clueless on his condition and because of this the just wave rob away but it is not fair one bit. The funding he needs will be for a specialist on his very complex dissorder to help and its the only way rob will have a chance to get better and he wants to get better hes the soundest guy iv ever met , kind, generous and very loving. But because rob does not have a common dissorder i.e bipola or schizophrenia which also are quite serious he gets treated different and discriminated against by the cpn he was under. With the funding rob wouild get everything he needs to be able to live life the way it should be lived but at the moment because of a narrow minded cpn he suffers. i love rob hes the closest thing i have to a dad anymore and he deserves better.
 
Michael Felse wrote
at 1:09:43 PM on Wednesday, November 7, 2012
When my parents needed care I was told they were too young to access social services, both dying in their 50s. It is what turned me away from Labour. I read on this page "things do not get better". If "Labour" intend to fight for enough national votes in the not too distant General Election they must evidence that they not only learn from the past but that they help people in need. What is happening at Cromwell House will give the Tory Party the kind of case study that would hit National Labour's fight for power. Why do Salford Labour Council not see the danger, to vulnerable people and their party.
 
not happy wrote
at 1:08:54 PM on Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Gill Green, say's she is reassuring the people of salford that they treat Cromwell house service users with compassion and other things that I won't go in to, she wants to get down there and find out for herself,whats going on her professional staff because at 4,45pm Rob a service was knocking on the door in crisis and threatening to kill himself he wasn’t going to harm any body but himself he was there for 15 Mins trying to put his case forward then at five o'clock was told that there was nothing they could do because they had closed;; was this genuine need of help. Of course it was;he wanted to talk to his named C P N or anybody that would listen to him;;So what happened after five O'clock zero tolerance and the police was called and was put in a cell for about six hours is that what you call respect, dignity and professionalism; to me this do's not show me any of the latter;; Then there’s the other thing about security, who's idea was it to put new security doors on, it's drop in for Gods sake not a prison or is this another excuse to keep people out of the drop ins, the problem is it's all about money compassion, respect, dignity and professionalism; Sorry doesn't fit the equation or is it because they want to use the building for other reasons instead of what it was built for a DROP IN;;;;
 
Peter Tully Snr wrote
at 11:40:02 AM on Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Same happened to my sister Debbie Tully (42). She was locked up for 6 months instead of being given the help she needed, a few months after she got out she died. The whole system needs looking at. R.I.P Debbie never forgotten.
 
Ordsall V wrote
at 10:06:17 AM on Wednesday, November 7, 2012
My heart goes out to Rob & partner, and all service users as they are being abandoned, and probably harmed, by the Govt. What surprises me is the heartless nature of those who trained to care...I thought they would be more human, even while the Council isn't. What a shame. But thank you Salford Star for bringing to light an issue I had not thought about before. I never knew how much such closures could affect people.
 
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