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Psychiatrist snubs OBE in mental health protest


  • Guardian Unlimited, Thursday May 17 2007
  • Adam James

An eminent psychiatrist says he has turned down an OBE in protest at the government's "deeply flawed" plans to extend compulsory powers of detention over the mentally ill. Dr Suman Fernando was told last week by Downing Street that he had been nominated for the honour for his "services to black and minority ethnic mental healthcare".

Psychiatrist sells his skills on eBay


  • Guardian, Wednesday July 19 2006
  • Adam James

Some NHS doctors boost their income by dabbling in private practice, but one psychiatrist has opted for a markedly different approach - selling his medical knowledge on the online auction site eBay. Syed Shah, a community psychiatrist for North East Essex mental health trust, is auctioning an "education" on 36 mental health topics, ranging from schizophrenia and manic

Group support

  • Guardian, Wednesday July 5 2006
  • Adam James

In a farmer's field in the Yorkshire Dales there is one caravan not used by holidaymakers but by people with severe mental health problems who live 50 miles away in Dewsbury. The caravan is their refuge, a place to seek sanctuary. The respite caravan is the only service of its kind in Britain, and exemplifies the inventiveness of a project that claims remarkable success in

Peace talks

  • Guardian, Wednesday September 28 2005
  • Adam James

Val Strawford's tree-lined garden, with its Buddha statue, oozes calmness - a far cry from the torment of her life seven years ago. Her son Rob, now 27, had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, precipitating a total breakdown in family life. Overcome with paranoia and anxiety, Rob spent most daylight hours locked in his bedroom in their house in Birmingham. His pent-up anger

A voice in the wilderness


  • Guardian, Wednesday June 22 2005
  • Adam James

Speaking to Jeffrey Dawkin, it is hard not to note some similarities with David "Rocky" Bennett, the psychiatric patient whose death - after being pinned down by nurses in a clinic in Norwich seven years ago - sparked a high profile inquiry into racial discrimination in NHS mental health services. Like Bennett, Dawkin is a black Rastafarian who has been diagnosed with

Irrecoverable position

  • Guardian, Wednesday October 20 2004
  • Adam James

Has the UK Independence party (Ukip) developed as much disdain for people with mental health problems as it has for Europe? The party's website states that, to protect itself from "extremists", anyone "with a record of serious mental illness" is barred from applying to become a parliamentary or council candidate. Evidently, winning votes from the mental health lobby has

£3m voluntary service cuts spark protest march

  • Guardian Unlimited, Friday February 6 2004
  • Adam James

Demonstrators will march through Leicester tomorrow to protest against huge council cuts that threaten to force the closure of around 90 voluntary services. The services face closure because their core funding from the city council is set to be slashed by ý3.3m over three years. Voluntary sector representatives fear about 400 jobs could be lost if the council's budget plans

Peace of mind

  • Guardian, Wednesday July 9 2003
  • Adam James

Take a walk around the centre of Oldham and look at the chatting youths who pass you by. One observation will strike you: almost without exception, whites hang out with whites, Asians with Asians. Such conspicuous racial segregation has become a cultural norm in a town that, two years ago, witnessed the worst racial disturbances in Britain for 15 years.

Government powers plan 'shameful'

  • Guardian, Wednesday June 11 2003
  • Adam James

Psychiatrists say the government should "hang its head in shame" over plans to extend powers of compulsory detention of mentally ill people beyond those already laid out in the draft mental health bill. The Home Office proposes to give courts the power to detain in hospital a "dangerous" mentally ill defendant, even if not charged with an offence punishable by prison.

Ministers accused of mental health shortfall

  • Guardian Unlimited, Thursday December 19 2002
  • Adam James

Ministers have failed to deliver on their commitment to preventative mental health care, a leading health think tank claimed today. Dr David Woodhead, a King's Fund fellow in health policy, said there were distinct disparities between stated policy and actual service provision. Dr Woodhead was speaking after the publication of research conducted by the fund which concluded

Private firms could run NHS hospitals

  • Guardian Unlimited, Thursday December 19 2002
  • Adam James

The possibility of NHS trusts being run by the private sector has been opened up by Alan Milburn, the health secretary, after he invited eight independent healthcare firms - including Bupa - to tender for the job of managing "failing" hospitals. The eight - together with 63 NHS bodies - are contained on a "register of experts" that has put them in the frame to win franchises

Smokers ignore quit campaigns

  • Guardian Unlimited, Tuesday December 17 2002
  • Adam James

Despite intensive government anti-tobacco campaigning and cigarette health warnings, the number of smokers has dropped by just one per cent over a three-year period, a survey reveals today. Some 27% of people in Great Britain were smokers in 2001, compared with 28% in 1998, according to a government national statistics survey. Living in Britain - the 2001 general household

Living in Britain - the 2001 household survey's key findings

  • Guardian Unlimited, Tuesday December 17 2002
  • Adam James

Feeling British The survey showed that 48% of people living in England were likely to describe themselves as British, compared with 27% of people in Scotland and 35% of those in Wales. Older people were less likely to describe themselves as British - 36% of people aged 65 and over, compared with 47-52% of people under 55. Who lives with who? The proportion of one person

Survivors seek unity

  • Guardian, Wednesday December 11 2002
  • Adam James

Former users of mental health services who are now employed in health and social care are calling for the establishment of a national organisation dedicated to unifying and supporting their work. Stronger than Ever, a report backed by groups including the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health, urges the creation of an umbrella organisation to represent the needs of the

Condition alert

  • Guardian Unlimited, Wednesday October 2 2002
  • Adam James

These will be anxious times for some within Merseyside Police. Any time now, the crown prosecution service is due to receive a file from the police complaints authority. On the basis of this, the service will decide whether to pursue charges against some of the force's officers in connection with the death of Andrew Kernan, a 37-year-old with a history of schizophrenia, shot

Strong arm of the law

  • Guardian, Wednesday September 18 2002
  • Adam James

Susan Machin is back - not so much with a vengeance as with a set of more powerful tools. Nine years ago, she was a senior social worker at Ashworth special hospital on Merseyside. With five colleagues, she publicly exposed abuse of patients at the high-security unit. Shortly after, Machin left social work altogether. But now, at 58, she has re-emerged as a barrister

Speaking out

  • Guardian, Wednesday January 9 2002
  • Adam James

Ron Coleman used to be a chronic schizophrenic. He was, by his own admission, as mad as they come. When not compulsorily detained in hospital, commuters might have spotted him at Manchester's Piccadilly station, bearded and dishevelled, shouting back at abusive voices that tormented him. For 12 years, doctors tried to "cure" Coleman with cocktails of anti-psychotic

Hearing the worst

  • Guardian, Wednesday April 25 2001
  • Adam James

When my consultant told me that I had leukaemia, she had a hint of a smile on her face. It was not, of course, a smile of glee. Instead, it was one of understated warmth. It conveyed a sense of compassion and hope. Her smile was saying to me: "Sorry this is bad news. But don't worry - all is not lost." The subtle messages signalled by my doctor's non-verbal behaviour are

The hard road to dignity

  • Guardian, Wednesday January 17 2001
  • Adam James

Picture, if you will, this scene of squalor and hopelessness: a mother comatose on the settee after a week-long alcohol binge; her 10-year-old daughter left responsible for turning off the gas oven, locking the doors at night, and feeding herself and her nine-month-old brother. Neighbours alert social services, after which social workers come to take the children away to

Keeping an open mind

  • Guardian, Wednesday November 22 2000
  • Adam James

It is 41 years since Alec Jenner was sitting in a Sheffield hospital canteen, reading in the Daily Mirror how a circus trainer was using a drug to sedate his tigers. "Hey, this could work on the people of Sheffield," he joked to his colleagues. But the ambitious young psychiatrist saw in the story more than material for a wisecrack; he'd spotted an opportunity to further his

Final plea for dignity

  • Guardian, Wednesday November 1 2000
  • Adam James

A psychiatric patient dying of cancer is being denied his wish not to be injected with powerful anti-psychotic medication. Ron Holbeche, who is diagnosed schizo- phrenic, has untreatable cancer in his abdomen and lower back muscles. He suffers such acute pain he finds it difficult to walk. Friends and family do not expect him to live longer than five months.

Spying on the psychiatrists

  • Guardian, Wednesday September 20 2000
  • Adam James

Tell Rufus May that "doctor knows best" and he would have a few words to say about it. When he was just 18, a psychiatrist diagnosed him with paranoid schizophrenia and told him he would have to take medication for the rest of his life. May, who was suffering from delusions, was admitted to psychiatric hospital. He did take his medication for a while, but became so upset by