The President of the Committee for Health & Social Care has confirmed that senior staff from the island’s mental health service “were aware of the preparation and publishing” of a summary report into the service – but added that a wider consultation “was not considered necessary”.
Deputy Al Brouard was responding to a series of Rule 14 questions submitted to him by Deputy Lester Queripel, who queried various aspects of the island’s health system, including a future review of mental health services.
In 2018, HSC set up a review of the island’s mental health services which was carried out by David Gedze. In November 2021, the Committee published a glowing summary of the review.
The summary stated that: “Guernsey has good mental health services, which in many ways are as good as or better than those in most countries in the world…[t]he services are well resourced, providing a wide range of clinical interventions to meet the needs of the population”.
It also emerged last month that a group of staff working within mental health wrote a highly critical letter about the services to senior officials. This happened in December 2020, in between the commissioning of the review and the publication of the summary.
Deputy Queripel sought to establish in his questions whether staff within the service were consulted before the publication of the review.
Pictured: Deputy Brouard was responding to questions submitted by Deputy Queripel.
He said: “during Question Time of the States debate held September 29, 2021, I asked a supplementary question of you enquiring whether or not staff working within the Mental Health Service, had been consulted regarding the publication of the summary of the review of the service undertaken by Mr David Gedze.
“In response you said ‘You can’t have it both ways Deputy Queripel. The idea of asking Mr Gedze to look through his report is to be able to filter out some of the findings without naming names of the people who submitted information to it’.
“Why you decided to turn the focus on to me when you responded to my question is intriguing to say the very least Deputy Brouard, but that aside, you didn’t actually provide me with the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer the question required.
“So due to the fact that it still hasn’t been made clear whether or not the staff were actually consulted, I ask the question again in the form of this next Rule 14 question: Can you please tell me if the staff were consulted or not regarding the committee changing their mind and publishing a summary of the Gedze Report?”
Deputy Brouard highlighted that it was Deputy Queripel himself who had demanded the summary review to be published in his responses.
“Senior staff were aware of the preparation and publishing of the summary report. Wider consultation was not considered necessary given the report was an anonymised summary of Mr Gedze’s original report,” he said.
“The report was originally written for internal use as a leadership tool and was therefore not intended for external publication. It was following your request, Deputy Queripel, that a summary report was written by Mr Gedze and released on 29th November 2021”.
Pictured: Deputy Queripel has routinley criticised the review into the island's mental health services.
Deputy Queripel then asked whether Mr Gedze’s review would have “received such a glowing assessment if all the ‘bad bits’ had been left in, and the report had been published in its original ‘in house’ format instead?”
Deputy Brouard replied claiming it would be “disingenuous” to believe that the summary review was favourably edited to hide negative aspects of mental health services.
“Mr Gedze was asked to provide an overview of his findings and recommendations for the purposes of publication and it was that report, unedited by the Committee or anyone else in HSC, that was published. The only information removed from the report was to anonymise individuals who contributed to it,” said Deputy Brouard.
He added that Deputy Queripel would be welcome to speak with Mr Gedze when he “visits the island”.
Pictured: A decision on whether to hold a further review into services will come in the next six months.
Deputy Brouard also stated that a decision on whether to have a further review on the island’s mental health services would come “within the next six months” once several workstreams within the Committee were complete.
You can read the questions and responses in full HERE.
Pictured (top): Deputy Al Brouard (right), President of the Committee for Health & Social Care, and Deputy Lester Queripel.
Once your comment has been submitted, it won’t appear immediately. There is no need to submit it more than once. Comments are published at the discretion of Bailiwick Publishing, and will include your username.
There are no comments for this article.