I have now been presented with a dilemma. The ‘cuts’ facing the NHS have always been, and perhaps always will be, a backdrop to any enterprise inside or outside of the ward. The “Echoes Group” is vulnerable and at the last meeting I was posed a question that I had, to a certain degree, been expecting – would I ‘run’ the Group? Two of the key figures may no longer be able to attend, one because he is considering undertaking an MA, though he isn’t the main concern, because he is the artistic lead and has said that he would still liaise with local artists to bring them into the Group for projects etc. The other is on the clinical staff and her loss is something I feel would feel uncomfortable in doing without as there is very little of her capability that I could cover.
If I say no, there may be a chance that the group folds through a lack of a leader and if I say yes the group continues but with someone I feel is eminently unqualified to manage it. A ‘no’ from would perhaps deny these users with an outlet that they clearly value; an outlet that provides them an opportunity to mix with others in the community in a safe environment, in a creative way that stimulates them and that provides them with something that they value and which gives them some pride and self worth – something which is becoming increasing rare for them in a society that will continue to marginalise them in the name of cost efficiency.
If I say yes, then the group will continue, at least for a while – until the next crisis (it has to be said that the community space that hosts the group is under threat of closure through lack of funds through cuts earlier this year). And I am very tempted to say yes, especially if that was the only issue, but of course it isn’t. Whilst I have gained the confidence of all the users, both clinical and non clinical, I have no background /training/expertise in dealing with any or all of the situations that might arise. These users have a variety of conditions, that for the most part I have no real comprehension of and many have supplementary medical conditions that are completely separate from their mental health issues. Outside of those concerns there are of course liability issues, which , from a financial aspect could be covered off by insurance etc, but would that be acceptable in a practical way to both my conscience and the relatives of the users?
I am, therefore, in a quandary. A yes might allow the group to falter on, a no might accelerate it’s demise. A yes, might allow some time to find a better longer term solution, a no might force the group’s management to find that solution earlier. Of course it is no matter that I have planned to use my experience with this group to inform my assignments with this course – I am sure now that I could invest somewhere else, I am certainly not going to make my decision in order to give me a better chance to fulfil my course aims.
This Tuesday’s meeting might be interesting……….