Home is where the heart is

You know they say home is where the heart is.

It’s where your family is. It’s also where you feel safe. But imagine not being able to see your family and your friends, or anyone you knew because you have been placed outside your NHS board area, outside your council’s local authority area. Basically you have been placed away from home. That’s what this post is all about.

In my last post I mentioned about my experience at Partners in Policymaking. On the last weekend, which happened to be our graduation weekend, I heard about a report which I had already been reading and looking at. This report is called Coming Home.

It was written by Scottish government and it talks about people that are placed outside of their communities. You know, being placed outside your community must be quite frightening. Imagine not being able to have your mum and dad visit you every day if you are in hospital. Imagine not seeing those people you grew up with. Imagine also not knowing anything or anyone, just feeling lost and being outside of the area and place you grew up.

In the Coming Home report it also talks about long-stay hospitals and people that are placed outside their local authority.

A group of us at In Control Scotland have talked about this report to see what we can do to highlight the things it discusses. We had our first meeting on 20 June, to discuss the report, to discuss an action plan, and to look at ways forward and how we can make sure that the recommendations in this report are actually implemented.

You know it is time now that people are not being placed outside their local authority.

This could be a real big reality for me, and it scares me to think that, without the right support, I may end up somewhere that I don’t want to be. Where I don’t know anyone. I could be placed thousands of miles away, even in Glasgow, all because there is no bed my local area.

We don’t need long-stay mental health hospitals in this day and age for people with disabilities, but what we need is the right support for them to live their life how they want. We don’t need people placed outside their authorities and them being placed thousands of miles away all because “that’s best for them.” If you place someone away from everything they know, away from everyone they love, then that will be detrimental.

It is about time that we shut the group homes, community living places, hospital units that are for people with disabilities. You know it simply is not fair to place someone outside of their authority.

It is time to bring people home where they belong, because getting them closer to home will improve their health big time.

You know, we wouldn’t have known about any of this if it had not been for the BBC Panorama programs. I reckon the reporter who did all the investigations into Winterbourne View and other places like Winterbourne is one brave person: to go undercover to spot all the failings and come out and make a program out of it is quite amazing. I watched the recent BBC programme Undercover Hospital Abuse Scandal about a place like Winterbourne. I am glad I had no heavy objects and that I was miles away from my TV or else I may have needed a new TV!

In closing, I think it’s time to lobby the government both at Scottish and national level and even councils, to make sure that no one, absolutely no one, whatever their background, ends up being placed thousands of miles away from everything they know and love.

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