Monthly Archives: December 2012

Surprise Harley Street consultation

On very short notice I will be attending today (Tuesday) a consultation with Dr Rajeev Dhar a consultant psychiatrist.

Dr Dhar is available for private consultations at 10 Harley Street, London W1 and has admitting rights to Capio Nightingale Hospital, a private psychiatric clinic in (west) NW1 whose past guests include the deceased singers Michael Jackson and Amy Winehouse.

Dr Dhar is also qualified as a Barrister at Law, for the benefit of those who are unaware; a Barrister at Law is a higher status than a Barrister, so it is plain to see Dr Rajeev Dhar is something of a psychiatric powerhouse. Normally I would not be excited at seeing another psychiatrist but this is not your run-the-mill-NHS-I’m-sitting-in-front-of-someone-who-is-only-interested-picking-up-their-paycheck consultation. This is a private consultation, being paid for by the state, and is outside of my National Health Service care. This will not be my first time of being analysed by a Harley Street based psychiatrist, but who knows, it could be my last?

I prepare for the consultation by reading up on the internet in regards to Dr Dhar and will be taking two copies of the Financial Times (FT) weekend magazine were I have been published plus a copy of my unpublished novel The Spirit of Keith Moon: a study into the economics of psychiatry, male role models, and the wisdom of parking Rolls Royces in swimming pools

The irony of my comment this is not your run-the-mill-NHS-I’m-sitting-in-front-of-someone-who-is-only-interested-picking-up-their-paycheck is not lost on me, for this is a private consultation, and if no-one was prepared to pick up the Doctor’s fee this consultation would never occur. As Greave’s used to say on national television “It’s a funny old game…”


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The terror of knowing what this world is about

Why do people open up to me with a honesty not reserved for their psychiatrist? Is it my frequent pondering on life viewing each day as possibly my last on earth? Living with the knowledge a terrorist bomb or being knocked down by a bus could be our final moments. I surely don’t face these prospects alone?

I recall a recent conversation with a man who described himself as poet, he is known to psychiatric services, not intimately despite being over many years seen by a number approaching thirty-five psychiatrists, we talked trying to make sense of it. Like me he is deeply disgruntled at the level of care provided by psychiatrists.

The poet said. “I cost the tax-payer a lot of money.”

I parried “So do I. More than you, psychiatrists don’t come cheap.”

We discussed medication, as with my very first conversation with a NHS psychiatric patient, the loquacious poet does not take his medication. I ask, in that case does he flush his medication down the toilet? No, each month he collects his paper prescription, cashes in his prescription, then places the box of pills with all the other boxes of medicine he has collected over the years. Quite a pile now!

I tried to calculate the cost of his cool deception to the tax-payer, the cost in terms of the various medical professions; the cost to the NHS of his consultants’ time, his general practitioner’s time, dispensing pharmacists’ time, and the multiple IT systems that record his phantom prescription taking, all to fool the Department of Work and Pensions to avoid being placed on the irksome Jobseekers Allowance, happy, or at least content, to be parked up on welfare benefits for the rest of his life. His cynical outlook is resultant from the paucity of aspiration of his psychiatrists – the poet has never experienced a psychotic episode, but does have serious issues of previous suicide attempts, in all other aspects he is honest with the head-shrinks who had taken him, then broke his work ethic, ending all thoughts of a career, apart from his poetry which he regrets writing for the spoken work, the great pretender now wishes he had taken a different, more lucrative path of setting his words to music.

Boris Johnson should blush at the co-dependency between psychiatrists and their patients. Psychiatrists can lead lives of never being described as welfare leeches though the tax-payer funds their unproductiveness while providing them with large houses in leafy streets to enjoy exclusive golf-club memberships teeing off on a Sunday morning, perhaps an affluent lifestyle that the poetic wordsmith could set to music…

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Serially repetitive

I have been taken to task over describing my four hundred plus psychiatrists as serial.

Apparently psychiatrists are not serial, killers are serial, rapists are serial, burglars & cat-burglars are serial, in my instance psychiatrists are repetitive; repetitive in their behaviour of passing me over to the next psychiatrist and to the next psychiatrist and to the next…

It is generally agreed among patients some psychiatrists are pathological liars. My statement that some psychiatrists are pathological liars may be a shock to ordinary members of the public but ask yourself: who questions the word of a psychiatrist? As previously established Coroners (15/12/12) can question a psychiatrist but I think Coroners are not in the business of questioning the word of a psychiatrist. Don’t just take my word that some psychiatrists are serial, sorry repetitive liars, an article published in the FT Weekend magazine on the 29th January 2011 written by highly regarded psychologist Dorothy Rowe Author of Why We Lie, opened with these gripping sentences: “I used to work with a psychiatrist whose attachment to the truth was somewhat tenuous. What astounded me was that he would lie in front of people who know he was lying.”

In my experience, psychiatrists are unchallenged to the extent they will knowingly park their cars obstructing fire exits. It would appear that the world and his dog know that it is unlawful and potentially lethal to obstruct a fire exit however consultant psychiatrists will act otherwise…

Photographs to prove my point will appear once I’ve mastered how to post photographs.

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Bomb Scare, black bins, and Occupy London

Sunday 16.52

Woke up to the sound of an explosion instantly my mind runs through the options as the rumble fades away – was it thunder or a bomb? Living in Central London the risk of a terrorist attack is never far away. Waiting to hear if a saddle of sirens would emerge in the aftermath I ponder once again on the fragility of life, existence can be taken away in an instant.

Only yesterday, Saturday afternoon I mentioned to the youthful Liam Taylor, the organiser of the Occupy London walking tours, that the litterbins in the City that display electronic advertising boards are there for more than the mere collection of litter. They also collect intelligence. The black bins of the City of London provide the security services an electronic ring of steel. Contained within their plastic shells are high resolution cameras alongside super-sensitive bugs that can overhear any conversation in the street. Liam asked, how did I know this? I struggled with my instant recall, I mumbled something that it was one of the civil liberty issues the protesters at St Paul’s Cathedral were campaigning about.

One then two emergency sirens start. Not enough for a bomb outrage. I am accustomed to sirens, nothing out of the ordinary. Heavy rain begins to pour.

Why am I sleeping on Sunday afternoon? It is not as a consequence of Liam’s two hour walk, this is an anti-psychotic soporific slump. I had taken 20mgs of olanzapine around eight last night, woke-up at half past one this afternoon, taken a bath, returned to the sofa without being fully dry then thanks to the sedating effects of olanzapine fell asleep again. I do not sleep in my bed I sleep on my sofa as a result of the behaviour of the disgraced therapist Beechy Colclough.

Lighting flash, followed by thunder, the security services have done their job. Another day in London without a terrorist outrage.

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St Pancras Coroner’s Court

I have wondered for some time why London’s local papers had ceased the practice of reporting suicide inquests, where one could detect a pattern of the frequency of particular consultant psychiatrists’ attendance at inquests. It raised the issue why some psychiatrists regularly attended inquests and why some rarely attended. The bereaved may be interested in the number of deaths a particular psychiatrist has overseen.

The reason why London’s local papers had ceased the practice is that the dates of inquests are no longer directly sent to the local press, with many inquests occurring without a trusty journalist sitting on the press bench to report to the public.

A little local difficulty has arisen in four London Boroughs including the London Borough of Camden following the sudden resignation of Coroner Dr Andrew Reid. It has come to public attention Dr Andrew Reid injudiciously hired his Australian wife as assistant deputy coroner who fails to have the required professional qualifications and experience.

Generally Coroners shine light on the arcane practices to be found within psychiatric services and Coroners appear to be the only person a consultant psychiatrist answers to aside from the General Medical Council.

Personally, I hope that the local press once again will be automatically advised of when inquests are held, so there are some public fragments of transparency in the care and treatment of the mentally ill.

A version of this entry has been sent to the letters page of the Camden New Journal newspaper.

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Patient Choice versus Hobson’s Choice

I note that The Times Health Editor Martin Barrow has reported (13/12/12) that mental health patients will be allowed from April 2014 to choose their consultant psychiatrist. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is reported as saying sufferers from mental ill-health will no longer have to make do with a “like it or lump it” health service.

And that patient choice should make it easier for people with mental health problems to switch (consultant) if the existing relationship with their consultant psychiatrist breaks down.

I hope these planned changes will raise the bar for psychiatric care in the UK, where patients can demand that the lead clinicians involved in their care be a pair of clinical psychologists, psychologists following superior models of psychiatric care as presently practiced in Holland, New Zealand and other countries.

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Picking up one’s appointment

After being seen by an excess of four hundred psychiatrists I can be excused for not being enthusiastic about arranging yet another appointment to see the next serial psychiatrist in my care.

Mirth, a care worker employed by my social landlords, encouraged me to phone over successive days to arrange an appointment with Dr Kate Pugh a consultant psychiatrist in psychotherapy based at the Parkside Clinic, London W11.

A lady called at Thursday lunchtime to say confusingly that I can “pick up” my appointment with Dr Mike Crawford a consultant psychiatrist based at the Waterview Centre, London W9, then she added; Dr Crawford only works Wednesdays at the centre and she wanted me to know that they had picked up my calls.

I am bemused by the terminology of “picking up an appointment”, I am used to picking up a prescription, and attending appointments, never before have I been offered to pick up an appointment! Is this a new twist in psychiatric terms the same way mental health hospitals are being labelled “Centres for Wellbeing”?

Ah but here’s the question that’s tickling me: what new, and more to the point, what useful intervention can either Dr Kate Hugh or Dr Mike Crawford hope to achieve? What are their aspirations for me? A man who, for twenty years, has not been in paid employment. A scandal in itself.

Is the mental health system run for the benefit of the patients or for the convenience of the consultants? For me that’s a rhetorical question, long ago, I realised that the National Health System in relation to mental health is run for the benefit of the staff and not for the patients…

Some names have been changed. The doctors named are real.

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