Idiocy and callousness of Britain’s psychiatric services

Screen Shot 2014-06-14 at 19.34.12England’s psychiatric services are appropriate, writes Dalrymple,

to a nation of paupers forced to accept what they are given.

Relatives of patients

are either ignored altogether or treated as if they were the patients’ worst enemies with some discreditable ulterior motive. That they know the patients better than anyone else, and are therefore better able than anyone else to spot deterioration, is denied by psychiatric workers who in all likelihood have never met the patient before. This leaves the relatives bemused, frustrated and furious, as well as convinced of the unutterable incompetence of the services with which they have to deal.

A feature of these services

is their extreme bureaucratisation. An anthropologist visiting from Mars might conclude after his study that those who work for psychiatric services have such a belief in the efficacy of form-filling that they actually worship forms and ascribe magical powers to them. Not long ago I looked into several disastrous outcomes that occurred in the same place at the same time. I was immediately struck by the colossal number of forms that had been filled on each patient, often the same form asking the same questions, but filled with contradictory answers. It was clear that no one could possibly have read them (except me); for the persons who filled them, the filling of the form, not the welfare of the patient, was the purpose of their work.

The impression

is of timeservers on a job-creation scheme waiting for their salaries at the end of the month rather than of professionals whose concern is for patients.


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