A MAN from Bolton has slammed Bolton’s Mental Health services after spending time on an infamous unit at the Royal Bolton Hospital that has a magnitude of failings.
In April this year, the unit was branded a ‘Failure’ by a jury after 27-year-old mother, Sharlene Godding was found hanged after escaping from the Birch Ward at the Hosptial’s Mental Health Unit.
A jury found that she was “let down” by the failures of medical staff to update risk assessments and to communicate with each other.
Our source inside the Beech Ward on the same site told us of continued staff failings, rampant drug use including the use of highly addictive Class-A drug crack cocaine and revealed that drugs and counterfeit cigarettes were being openly sold to vulnerable patients.
Our insider ‘Declan’ whose name we have changed to protect his identity told us that since he was admitted four weeks ago he has been to ‘hell and back’ and has received a shocking level of care comparing his the unit to a ‘Prison.’
Declan spoke of an institution of sedation over urgent mental health care and assistance, with patients often waiting HOURS for much-needed medication.
“I was admitted to the Beech Ward at Royal Bolton Hospital after an attempt on my own life,” Declan said.
The system of care starts at triage in A&E, where patients are told that the RAID team is being called – (Rapid Assessment and Intervention Department). After our investigation, we found that there is only ONE doctor who covers Bolton’s Mental Health wards and A&E at night.
Declan was left in Accident and Emergency for hours on end waiting for RAID. He said that there was ‘nothing rapid about it’ and that the team played down everything he described said to them. “Not because they don’t care, maybe due to lack of funding/understanding,” added Declan.
To get much-needed help, Declan was forced to tell the RAID team that he would attempt to take his own life again if they sent him away, Declan said that he had tried to kill himself FOUR times before he was finally admitted.
Our insider was admitted as a ‘Voluntary/Informal’ patient but joked that the ‘Voluntary/Informal’ tag was said loosely ‘as there’s nothing informal about it.’
He claimed that he was held like a prisoner inside the Ward, describing a feeling of being left ‘to rot’ and wasn’t given any medical intervention for four days.
Declan explained that he was admitted on a Friday and said that the unit only does psychiatric reviews on Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s meaning he was on the ward for three days before any mental intervention was put in place, It also took Declan four days to be granted supervised family leave from the ward.
During his four day ordeal, Declan was offered CRACK COCAINE and saw other patients smoking drugs he even revealed he found a bag of SPICE down the side of one of the chairs in the main living area.
He said some more sinister patients were preying on the vulnerable selling drugs on the ward including Cocaine, Crack Cocaine, Zopiclone (Sleeping tablets) and Subutex (An replacement for Heroin used by heroin addicts.)
Declan told us that some of the patients were even selling counterfeit cigarettes for up to £8.00 a pack and letting them buy drugs and cigarettes ‘on tick’ until they’re paid either state-benefits or wages from sick pay.
He described the intervention as ‘A quick chat about how I’m feeling’ and then an upped dosage of his medication. He was then left for another week before he was seen again by a Consultant.
Declan claimed that one patient had the medication he was prescribed for TEN years stopped and when the patient had a ‘bad turn’ he was refused his medication.
He said the reviews should be daily because people like him have bad and good days, and sometimes they can self-harm meaning once a week isn’t good enough.
Declan praised some of the front-line Nurses and added “whilst they do ‘Incredibly difficult job’ there are some staff who mostly congregate in the Ward’s office on their phones ignoring what is happening on the Ward and failing in their duty of care.
Declan revealed that the staff failed to stop a fight on the ward and to resolve the situation, they just injected patients with meds to calm the situation – instead of talking to the patients and helping them emotionally.
He slammed night-time agency staff, adding that they do not have the knowledge of patients needs, often sleeping on the job.
Our source told us that visits with family and friends were badly planned and that there was zero-privacy with visits often taking place in front of highly mentally unwell patients who often disrupt much-needed and motivational visits.
Declan said that he was speaking out to change the system of care and to improve care for future young men like himself who desperately need mental health care, but are being failed by the NHS.
We have contacted Greater Manchester Mental Health Trust for comment.