Primary school parents accused of filming addicts outside Surbiton health centre (From Surrey Comet)
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Primary school parents accused of filming addicts outside Surbiton health centre
Parents of schoolchildren have been accused of filming people they suspect of being drug addicts as they enter and leave a Surbiton clinic.
The extraordinary claim was part of a risk assessment into dangers posed by addiction treatment patients from Surbiton Health Centre to primary school pupils, shared on Wednesday night.
The Community Wellbeing Service has been run from the centre since April, next door to Lime Tree Primary School pupils, for people with mental health issues, and drug and alcohol problems.
The meeting also contained:
- A u-turn by Liberal Democrat councillors over the needle exchange
- The revelation the primary school has lost trust in the Kingston NHS Clinical Commissioning Group over "an inconsistency in information"
- Claims media coverage "could lead to a vulnerable patient's death"
Parents' anger after the report writers did not interview them
The claim parents had filmed a service user was contained in a report commissioned by Kingston Council from consultants RSM Tenon.
To read the report click here
Richard Mackie, from RSM Tenon, told Kingston Council’s health overview and scrutiny panel: "They [service users] feel intimidated to attend. They are filmed by parents attending there, they are verbally abused by parents attending there.
“Threatening behaviour has come from parents of the school.”
But Lime Tree headteacher Clinton Pascoe, who in July told parents he was not told about the needle exchange when he took over in September, said: "We would never advocate doing that."
The report also highlighted the breakdown in trust between the school and NHS saying: "The current situation appears to have escalated due to a breakdown in communication.
"The stakeholders at the school feel that there has been an inconsistency in information coming from the clinical commissioning group.
“This inconsistency has then manifested into a lack of trust, both in terms of what services were going to be offered and how many were expected to be attending."
Surbiton Hill Councillor and Lime Tree governor Malcolm Self said, after meeting with parents and residents, and because of poor communication from health commissioners, he believed the wellbeing service should be moved.
He said: “We were misled, in a nutshell, because we were not told the proper picture of what is going on there.
"We only found out by rumour. The first we knew about it as ward councillors was February this year."
Trust between commissioners and parents will be difficult to restore, he added.
Fellow Lib Dems Sushila Abraham, John Ayles and Bob Steed support moving the service.
The council’s public health director Dr Jonathan Hildebrand has been asked to scout alternative locations.
Lime Tree chairman of governors Alan Gardner said: “The opening of the provision caused a good deal of consternation.
“The headteacher was approached on a more or less daily basis. The issue became highly politicised.”
He said: “Harm to the children can also be caused potentially by the continuance of this as a highly contentious issue.”
Tolworth resident Tava Walton, whose brother Adam is a Lime Tree parent, told the meeting it was “patronising” to be told parents had not been contacted for the assessment because RSM Tenon wanted to keep emotion out of its report.
She said: “It doesn’t count children as a vulnerable group.
“At what point was this service subject to proper planning scrutiny?”
Parents should have been involved in consultation earlier, she said.
Peter Kelk, who gathered signatures for a petition opposing the needle exchange, said not talking to residents and parents was “arrogant”.
He said: “Consultation has been appalling in this process."
But the report claimed an NHS Kingston presentation on January 30 “clearly informed parents of what was being proposed” and that “the idea that children will be harmed by individuals taking drugs at the school gates has no basis in reality”.
The report concluded the risk of finding drug paraphernalia lying around the site was low.
Dr Sarah Minot, who works at the service, said: “Where there are not needle exchanges, this is where there is a higher risk of needle stick injuries and harm caused by used needles.”
Coun Rolson Davies said: “It is difficult to perceive that someone who is going there specifically to exchange a needle is then going to not exchange the needle and drop it on the ground."
The report said there was no link between wellbeing service clients and antisocial behaviour or crime,
But coverage in the press could scare away patients potentially leading to their death, the report claimed.
It said: “The recent press and other media attention on the site have the potential to deter new clients and alienate existing [ones].
"While those against the wellbeing service may believe this to be a victory it will only cost the local health services more in treatment and could result in the death of a vulnerable person."
Mr Mackie said the needle exchange had served 13 patients a total of 24 times.
There will be six-monthly meetings for the next year and a half to review any untoward incidents logged at the site, which will include parents, residents and councillors.
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