There is no help.

17th March 2018.

My attempts to get any sort of help or support have failed. The letter pictured says..

Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership.

Date 9th March

Dictated 23rd February

Dear Mr Gibson

Thank you for attending your assessment appointment at the Charleston Centre on 8th February 2018.

Following discussion with the multidisciplinary team we will be discharging you back to the care of your GP as there appears to be no role for CHMT at this point.

I have written to your GP informing them of this decision.



Community Psychiatric Nurse

Community Mental Health Team.

So, if I want help I’ll probably have to go and commit a crime. Seems to be the only way.

Alcoholics, drug users and all other forms of low life scum and vermin are treated to a higher standard than someone with a lifelong condition.

I’m beyond disgusted at this and I’m going to end up lower and more isolated as a result.

The Scottish NHS isn’t worth a fuck as far as I’m concerned. They’d rather see me dead.


Happy Trains between Edinburgh and Glasgow ?

This is a ‘Happy Train’ or a Class 365 Networker. They date from the mid 1990’s and have been suggested as a solution to Scotrail’s lack of trains available for The Edinburgh and Glasgow mainline (via Falkirk) route.

The ‘Happy Trains’ are coming off lease after replacement by new class 700 units for Thameslink/Great Northern.

They are 4 carriage 20 metre long units.

Scotrail’s lease arrangements for a number of diesel units is up and these are due to move south, some have already been received at Northern.

The Hitachi class 385 units that were to replace them have been held up due to an issue with vision in the drivers cabs through a curved Windscreen.

The Happy Trains are one of the few available electric multiple units that Scotrail might get their hands on.

Some online forums have speculated on a cascade of the existing Siemens Desiro Class 380’s from Inverclyde and Ayrshire to fill in.

These are already used in two sets of seven carriage formations for selected journeys on the E&G.

E&G passengers have already complained about the stub tables on the 380’s for their ‘essential laptop working’, and there’s mutterings on the lack of first class on the units and that’s there’s no particular time benefit from running in a mixed timetable with diesel units also preset on the line.

Conversely, there’s an issue for Inverclyde commuters. At times, a forty minute or longer journey is carried out by Class 314’s that don’t have toilets and the comfort or facilities of the 380’s.

Local press and politicians in Inverclyde have been noisy about the downgrade.

Rumours and speculation are abound and there’s been mention of a wholesale transfer of 380 units as well as more 320/4’s created from class 321’s.

Certainly there’s a plan for more conversions of 321’s but this may only be five units.

Perhaps, a more Simple answer for Scotrail is to procure a replacement fleet for the E&G as all infrastructure on Ayrshire and Inverclyde lines is set for the 380’s.

That’s where the Happy Train and a series of questions comes in.

Firstly, should the 380 fleet transfer over to E & G duties?

It must tempt Scotrail, but the fleet and it’s working diagrams are based out of Shields depot to the West of Glasgow.

The limited transfer of units for use on the E&G was supposed to be temporary.

A long term transfer east of the fleet would give issues and not least in terms of Ayrshire and Inverclyde passengers losing ‘their trains’.

Theres a further question of resourcing suitable units to replace the 380’s and work with the infrastructure and equipment on the Ayrshire and Inverclyde routes.

Secondly, the issue is on the E&G, isn’t it?

Proposed schedules for completion of the EGIP electrification slipped and these delays should have made sure that the introduction of the proposed rolling stock was on time.

At present, not all units are complete and not all units have been delivered.

Therefore, can Scotrail come up with rolling stock for the E&G and stop a knock-on effect on other routes and their usual unit allocations.?

Units intended for EGIP were also meant for the Stirling, Dunblane and Alloa services and for a fleet strengthening to ensure that the class 314’s could be retired in 2018.

So what should happen now?

There’s only so long that a temporary solution can be found and like any other business, Scotrail will have income to derive from its services and will want some certainty.

The question is how long it takes to resolve the issues with the 385’s, and how long to fix a solution to the window issue and have all units ready in service.

There’s a time and familiarity issue for train crew, drivers especially, and even a temporary fix in using another class of train would mean time and expense.

I’m unconvinced that it’s worthwhile for Scotrail to go to the lengths of bringing up a ‘new to Scotland’ class of electric multiple unit and train staff in using it, before converting all E & G route journeys.

The only way this might happen is if the frontages of the class 385’s need entirely replaced and with two windows on each cab end and 70 units total means 140 ‘fixes’ and quite possibly, that issue might take a bit of time and effort.

This image by Thomas Nugent clearly shows the difference in window size when compared to a class 380. Thomas Nugent Geograph

When seen together, it shows the difference in design used by Hitachi.

The original design was without a gangway between units.

The visual was later altered to Scotrail livery before the design with gangway was added.

In overall terms, it’s quite a change and there’s even a difference to the test units as captured above with the Siemens 380.

Hitachi have also had to endure some criticism of their Intercity Express Programme units introduced on the Great Western routes, however, the issue with these units isn’t at a great time and is at a point when rival manufacturers CAF and Siemens are building UK plants and where Bombadier have been introducing their Products to a number of franchises.

As to the ‘Happy Train’ Networker, it doesn’t seem likely that there will be the expense of time and effort to bring them to Scotland especially if a solution to the 385’s problems is months away.

Then again. I’ve been wrong before.

Long Way

I think I finally ‘get help’ this week.

Been struggling since October and kind of ironic that appointment with Community Mental Health is at a point where I’ve had to get through ‘the worst’ myself.

Rather than tell a story to them I’d really much rather try and direct them to what I need.

I think that is formalised Diagnosis of Anxiety and whether I can get that for Generalised Anxiety and Social Anxiety is my first question.

My other is a formal diagnosis of Depression. I’ve lived with it all my life. I need it confirmed and certified.

I’ll have to tell the nurse, presumably, that I can’t follow their script to CBT.

I can accept they’ll follow whatever the GP wrote to say, so I have to think through a polite way to say ‘Stop. This is what I need’ rather than go with the flow of the appointment.

Being Listened to is the thing that I need.

I may need to write cue cards and just show them.

I may need to sink the nurse’s attempt to do a ‘usual first appointment.’ By being awkward and uncooperative.

The risk in that is that I don’t get help as I’ve not did things in the way that they want.

It makes it critical that I get those points in before they start and especially get across that I’m Autistic and not needing a neurotypicals treatment for ‘just’ depression.

So, yeah I worry about ‘getting help’, I can’t just ‘be relieved’ and go with that.

I know I need more than that and I’ll try to ask but if they’re Interviewing as a first appointment I’m scared of a screen and someone at right angles to me.

I’d like to know if other specific medication can help or if I’m trucking along. I don’t need time off or a rest or anything like that.

Help and something to guide and soothe me please.

Obviously I’ll write after Thursday and I can only hope for the moment, but to temper that with a dose of realism too.

Glasgow’s Jigsaw Logo for Autism Friendly City Centre is Wrong and Offensive.

I was aware of Glasgow’s plans to have a more Autism Friendly City Centre environment. I completed some online surveys and read the information that had been posted.

Then the logo was announced.

As you see above it uses a ‘Jigsaw Piece’ or ‘Puzzle Piece’ design.

It’s based on this. The multicoloured jigsaw ribbon that The Autism Society in the United States of America use. A similar blue single piece design is used by the controversial ‘Autism Speaks’ group.

The design of a Jigsaw comes from The UK and the National Autism Society.

The logo was created in 1963 by a parent of an autistic child. It represents the puzzle of autism, the missing piece and a sad confused child.

Ultimately other groups such as the American groups used the design and modified it to their ends.

As an ‘autism parent’ I get the sentiment as my son doesn’t speak and is non verbal.

As a #actuallyautistic person with a diagnosis myself, it gets me angry.

It represents a childish image of autistic conditions. (No-one grows out of it)

It says there’s a mystery to autism and that it’s unfathomable. (Many of the sensory and communication issues aren’t that hard to discern.)

It says autistic people have things missing. (Most of us are complete, in having heads, bodies, arms and legs, our heads are wired differently)

Therefore to me, this choice of symbol by Glasgow is wrong and offensive.

I’m aware that the design is the work of a schoolchild and reports state that the person is autistic too.

I don’t easily want to upset anyone, especially given the context of the idea of having kids design the logo.

It’s also important for ‘Autism Awareness’, sadly that’s not ‘Autism Acceptance’. Minority groups for race, feminism and LGBTI rights seem to get ‘Acceptance’ on the agenda rather than just ‘Awareness’.

The initiative is obviously well meaning, but the criteria given to the children at the schools needs questioned.

What were they told to design?

What were they taught about Autistic People, as child and adults and what were they told was acceptable as symbols?

I visited the exhibition of the children’s art work and the preponderance of the Jigsaw symbol on designs suggests that they were not.

To my eyes 80% of designs included either a single jigsaw piece or the combined pieces ribbon design.

One even had the slogan ‘put the pieces together’

A failure in teaching?

Or a failure in understanding by grown adults that set the children the task.

Was ‘Neurodiversity’ mentioned in any context or any point of setting the task?

My other issue is that Strathclyde University’s affiliated Autism Network Scotland were on the panel that chose the winning design.

Was someone from ASN content to accept such a design having knowledge of Autistic People?

I can’t understand the Council not consulting their Autism Resource Centre on this either, surely someone from there would have queried this design.

A step back for the #actuallyautistic and another example of the jigsaw/puzzle piece being used, despite how people feel over it.

The Autism Journal in the US recently removed the Puzzle Piece as their logo.

Autism Journal abandons Puzzle Piece

“As one would hope for a research journal, what led to this change was research,” said David Mandell, an autism researcher at the University of Pennsylvania who serves as the journal’s editor. “Given that we published that study, we thought we should act on it.”

“I really thought it was time to modernize and get rid of the puzzle piece and go with something more up to date and less offensive,” Brook said in a podcast about the change.

“The puzzle piece is therefore no longer an apt, or even adequate, symbol for autism as we currently understand it,” the journal editors wrote in an editorial announcing the change. “The move away from the puzzle piece here and towards our new design is not only about how we choose to represent autism, but it is also about proving that we represent that broader change itself.”

All in all a good move.

Here’s the research behind it

Participants associated puzzle pieces with imperfection, incompletion, uncertainty, difficulty, the state of being unsolved, and, most poignantly, being missing,” according to findings published online this month from researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Ursinus College and the University of Kentucky

it went on

If an organization’s intention for using puzzle-piece imagery is to evoke negative associations, our results suggest the organization’s use of puzzle-piece imagery is apt,” the study authors wrote. “However, if the organization’s intention is to evoke positive associations, our results suggest that puzzle-piece imagery should probably be avoided.”

Disability Scoop Article

So will Glasgow acknowledge that this logo isn’t progress for Autism Awareness and will the perceptions that are behind the jigsaw piece design be challenged or taught properly to children?

Never be a truth teller.

The closure of the Children’s ward at Paisley’s Royal Alexandra Hospital by the Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board was approved by Shona Robison, The Scottish Government’s Health Minister.

It was followed by a blizzard of stupidity from SNP supporters defending the decision.

Wings Over Scotland goes off in his typically truculent way.

5 minutes away, 10 minutes away.

They refer to the relocated Glasgow Hospital for Sick Children on the site of the Southern General Hospital with the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

Somehow this one got over excited and threw in photos of the old yorkhill.

Yorkhill is still shown on this map that is shown. There’s one specialist RHSC and it’s at the Govan site.

‘It’s only six miles away.’

Others travel further.

‘Just a ward in an adult hospital.’

‘Are these people for real? ‘

Yes there’s lots that live in Paisley, Renfrewshire and other areas affected by the closure.

My family amongst them as both my sons attend appointments there.


‘It’s only 10 minutes away.’

I don’t routinely drive and use public transport a lot. I know that’s untrue and I challenged that.

By bus a minimum of 33 minutes, from the one hospital to other 52 minutes with a change.

Data from Traveline Scotland, the public transport website.

The QEUH complex is also at other side of Renfrew and Braehead and I’ve been that way by bus too as well as driving at weekends and it’s not brilliant journey either.

Now, of course, I wasn’t supporting an SNP government decision.

‘How many live at the old hospital?’

So.. don’t be a truth teller kids. Don’t use your own mind. Don’t support independence without turning your brain off.

I fully understand the desire to try and shield this decision from Criticism by Scottish Labour politicians, but the defence of the indefensible here is bizarre.

It’s the closure of a Children’s unit in an NHS hospital that has Adult and Maternity services on site.

Paisley had some of Scotland’s poorest statistical postcodes. That poverty extends to car use.

And to finish, very strangely for a self confessed pedant, the ten minute claim stayed in his article online.

Excluded by GP surgery for Autistic Meltdown.

As it says above. I’ve been told that my GP surgery will exclude me as a patient.

I’m very worried and not sure what I do. I looked for help in November and got nowhere. I kept asking for my repeat prescriptions and ultimately that’s what I did wrong.

I asked for another repeat prescription before Christmas as I knew my medication would run out over the holiday period.

I made the request on the 21st December, tried collecting it on the 22nd. The pharmacy said they didn’t have the drug in, so I left it with them.

On the 29th I tried to collect again to be told they had no stock. I was out of tablets at this point. I was given back the prescription. No one contacted me to say there was an issue and I was disappointed, but had to walk into town in any case.

I went to the biggest pharmacy/chemist in town and they were surprised I couldn’t get it from my regular pharmacy. I showed my white Autism/ASD card in case I wasn’t making sense. Fortunately they had the drug and the type I normally get.

I was relieved. Did some shopping and walked back. I realised the GP surgery was open and I wanted to query my dose going down.

I had previously been told by the GP that I may want to step down my dose, but at the same appointment I had said I was applying for PIP and had my appeal.

The doctor expressed surprise when I said that and I very much felt disappointed as they didn’t seem to understand that I needed ‘help’ too.

My PIP meeting or first tribunal was soon thereafter and the result effectively ‘broke’ me. I felt the panel was fair apart from the GP Doctor that used verbal tricks on me, effectively saying I worked, I drove. Much the same as the PIP claim manager’s view.

At that point, I was existing and I just kept going to get through the spring and summer. I got casual on taking my prescription and some days didn’t bother.

I had a bad time in October and November with a crisis point and again, I kept going. I placed in repeat prescriptions, I took my medicines more regularly as I knew I was on edge and struggling.

At the middle of November I asked for usual repeat prescription and used the paper form in surgery to do so. It was light of the smaller part of the dose. I firstly thought it a mistake at the pharmacy, then it clicked and I realised I was probably being stepped down.

Now, at the time and as I said, I was struggling. I didn’t have any excess tablets or anything to keep me at previous dose and I realised I was struggling and that I was further down and further prone to outbursts and to meltdowns.

I had a few incidents before Christmas and I struggle with the period due to issues with family. I had a disappointing contact with a family member before Christmas too.

All in all, not in a good way and very much keeping going at the level of medication and through daily routines and keeping myself right.

I probably found over the period that regularly drinking coconut water for the potassium and eating plain yoghurt to help my gut bacteria did me some good physically and mentally.

So, a few difficult months, a major setback in getting help with ‘PIP’, a crisis point at the end October and start November and a dip in mood and motivation.

I snapped at the surgery on the 29th December. I had just been disappointed by the pharmacy next door with the prescription. I knew the prescription was ‘light’ and didn’t like idea of having to ask for the additional amount.

It was a milder day than some over the period. I had to take my jacket off as I waited. I was foot tapping/ moving and there wasn’t anyone else there or waiting.

I tried to be polite with receptionist, but maybe I was struggling.

I waited. Was told to ‘sit down’ and I maybe didn’t like tone or way I was told that. I saw the two Doctors talking and phones were answered and I got aware of time and that I had bags and shopping and that I needed to get home and put it away.

I realised I was hot and realised I had to see kids and do things.

I started to go. I think the receptionist said something to me, I tried to get to the doors, but one of the doctors got on my way.

By that point I had gone. Melted down, I can’t remember what I said but I was angry and shouting and unhappy, I just needed out of there.

There wasn’t a point of return. I had had enough. Shouting and the frustration of everything got to me.

I don’t think I swore. I may have. I didn’t refer to anything physical or otherwise about the Doctors or receptionist.

It was pure frustration and an autistic meltdown.

I tried to relay this at my appointment on Friday, it probably came across as a rant.

I never really got across that I needed help. For all the words, no-one got that. No-one saw the hurt and pain and stress and anxiety.

They just saw an individual being rude and shouting angrily. I must have a more limited range of facial expression or affect than I suppose too.

Which is fine, they have to do what they have to do, except for the fact that by excluding me from GP healthcare, they are doing the same for my young sons, one of whom has classic autism and is non verbal.

My condition is such that I’m embarrassed now to approach another GP surgery. I’m feeling very hurt by the decision and I feel my condition and needs haven’t been taken account of.

I haven’t had much help after being diagnosed as autistic and I’ve struggled on with the drugs and trying my hardest not to lose my job and not to lose my children.

I might present as someone polite and intelligent and not too much of a problem or an issue, but surely my notes or the patient systems flag what I have.

I’m disappointed and hurt over this and I have no idea where to turn.

I’m dreading getting the letter.

Common Weal – Nationalising Scotland’s Railways

I sometimes start reading something and then it jars.

‘Ellie Harrison – “Bring Back British Rail.”‘

Hmm.. that’s the ‘Glasgow Effect’ women who got that grant. Hmm..

Then this..

Without naming the High Speed Trains they are criticised on their age.

A sweeping statement made over their replacement too.

The issue with this is that it’s a direct rehash of the trashing of the High Speed Trains made in the Sunday Mail/Daily Record.

A trashing that is unfounded as the HSTs will offer a real difference in performance and passenger comfort over the current DMUs on the routes north to Aberdeen and Inverness from the Central belt.

No mention of the trains already having been life enhanced with newer greener engines compared with their original or that the sets, engines and carriages are being fully refurbished and upgraded before they enter service.

Of course, the authors won’t have knowledge of the diesel multiple units that have been tried as replacements for the HST or, the fact that they don’t measure up.

The upgrade from a HST tends to be electrification and given current ‘rolling’ programme and assuming progress continues, there may well be such toward Perth, Dundee and Aberdeen over the next two Network Rail Control Periods.

I could go on at length at the ‘competition’ that HSTs have see from other diesel multiple units and there have been batches of voyagers and super voyagers (classes 220 to 222), Coradias and Adelantes (classes 175 and 180) as well as diesel Desiros (class 185) and the various turbostar units.

None of these have displaced the HST status as a high speed diesel train.

Great Western’s replacement Intercity Express Trains have seen issues in introduction leading to an apology from Manufacturer Hitachi.

These are bi-mode units as electrification hasn’t progressed as far or fast as intended.

Bi-mode or perhaps even clean hydrogen power might be the future. The present is that these trains are being rolled out.

It is arguable that over Scottish tracks and with what manufacturers can currently produce there isn’t a better option in the market to improve the long distance city to city routes in Scotland without full electrification.

In other terms Common Weal made points that were easy to agree with on the abstraction of income from the franchise, levels of subsidy and international comparisons as to how Railways in Scotland could be run, but making easy hits on the HST isn’t necessarily fair and i do appreciate the point on the leasing cost of the units and the likely abstraction over the period of the lease of the trains as compared to public ownership.

Anyway. One day the politicking will be more informed..