We received a letter from a mental health professional yesterday that was essentially an attempt to fob us off. Rather than answer any of the questions we raised, they decided to fob us off and presumably hope we will go away.
The idea that service users have to accept bad practice, and not challenge inadequate explanations, makes us cross. Many service users will be unable to challenge or complain – they might not be well enough, might not know they can, might not have the ability to understand fairly complex policy documents. We are lucky in that respect – English is our first language, and we have an education. We are able to challenge things that are wrong.
Policy documents, we have discovered, while easily accessible by service users, are not designed for service users to read. They are complex, full of jargon, and often refer to other, even more complex, policies. We have a degree, we are used to professional texts, and we struggled. Someone less privileged than us would find it even harder.
How many other times have professionals “broken the glass” – apparently that’s what the action we complained about is called – and failed to follow national and Trust-wide policy? We don’t know. But being fobbed off only makes us more determined to take this further, if only so that others don’t experience the same lack of care and lack of response.