Thursday 23 January 2014

The Piece Of Cod That Passeth All Understanding

I'm in North Wales for our quarterly meeting which brings managers and trustees together informally to compare notes, share ideas, and plan ahead to address specific challenges here and to ensure that the voice of Hafal's Members and staff in North Wales is heard loud and clear on national issues.

This week we have news of further repercussions from the difficulties encountered by the Local Health Board up here with their in-patient facilities - see the story here. Hafal Chair Elin Jones spoke up for Hafal's North Wales Members and clients last night on Radio Cymru (here).

We must be worried that patients are paying a further price in disruption and diminished service and we trust the Board is doing its best to minimise the affect on patients and return rapidly to a point where services are fully in place, settled, and operating to a satisfactory standard. The big clue when these difficulties occur is to be transparent and involve patients in working out solutions.

Meanwhile earlier in the week we observed Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg's major speech on mental health which certainly made the right noises. The most interesting bit - actually a reannouncement - was about the extension of choice in the English NHS to mental health patients (it's already in place for other patients). This is a continuation of the previous UK Government's move towards empowering patients to choose who provides their care and treatment.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. It should begin to change the top-down, take-it-or-leave-it approach which makes services not only unresponsive to individual need but, more importantly, less respectful of patients.

Juxtaposition of these two stories is entirely uncoincidental.


Excellent cod, chips, mushy peas, bread (white naturally) and butter, and a big pot of tea - £5.49 at Gillies Plaice on Abergele Road, Colwyn Bay, served with old world charm, a friendly smile, and great care to check that everything was to my liking. I don't suppose it would be like that if they were a monopoly and so the only place you could get dinner...