One of the questions that keeps coming up at the Beds in the Orchard campaign meetings is; "If they are happy to casually discriminate against women, is the Trust meeting its obligations to other groups protected by the Equality Act 2010?"
We ask ourselves how they are taking care of young people with mental health problems. We wonder what structure they have in place to take care of their elderly service users. We question whether they they sensitive to the LGBT community.
What about those with disabilities other than mental health issues? Are they able to support those who are deaf or blind? Are their facilities properly equipped and their staff sensitive to the needs of those with physical disabilities?
We look at the response that we've had from the Trust about our issues with women being turned away from The Orchard. The response has, in our opinion, been dismissive of our concerns. Their replies that it's only temporary, that they don't believe its harmful, that it's 'clinically appropriate' and that they are flexing, rather than removing beds, all seek to minimise what we are telling them; that its hurting us.
The Trust have offered to meet with us and we're looking forward to doing so, but will it be more of the same face to face? Will we hear anything new?
We wonder now if we are just scratching at the surface of how the Trust deals with the concerns of its Service Users. Do they dismiss our complaints or bury them under empty statements while doing nothing to address them?
All of us have had treatment in the community provided by the Trust. Some of us have had inpatient treatment as well. All of us have our own experiences, both positive and negative and all of us want our voices to be heard. Let's hope they're listening.