'Lack of transparency' shown to vulnerable users of mental health service
PUBLISHED: 07:00 14 September 2018
Service users of a mental health charity have criticised the 'shocking' treatment they received after support services in the region changed hands.
Second Step took over mental health provision from 1in4 People, which has an office in Clevedon, in June due to funding cuts from both North Somerset Council and the Bristol North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (BNSSG CCG).
But the CCG’s handling of the situation has been criticised, as the group ‘played fast and loose with the service users by repeatedly cancelling meetings at the last moment’.
Many service users submitted impact statements to the CCG expressing their dismay at their actions to close 1in4, in Old Street.
One service user, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Times: “I have been appalled by the CCG’s behaviour and their lack of transparency and general inability to show any humility for the distress they have directly caused.
“Their approach to communication has been inflexible, ignorant, and shocking, they have a duty of care for service users and staff.
“I lost count at how many meetings the CCG either postponed or cancelled.”
Mike Anderson, member of the action group set up to prevent 1in4’s closure, added: “Both funding groups have played fast and loose with the service users by repeatedly cancelling meetings at the last moment.
“Many of our service users are heavily medicated and ahead of meetings at best had to gird themselves, at worse they did not take their medication to be ready for what the funders would throw at them next, they have been disenfranchised.”
A spokesman for the CCG said: “The issue with the service provided by 1in4 was first identified in October 2017, we continued to work closely with 1in4 and North Somerset Council over several months while we developed our plans.
“The CCG met with staff and service users a total five times during the process and regretfully, the CCG did have to cancel one of those meetings at short notice due to staff sickness.
“An alternative meeting was arranged as quickly as possible the following week to ensure adequate time before the beginning of the service from Second Step.”