Patsy, gone but not forgotten

We have a blog from our CEO, Trevor Pickup, about a former resident of Albert Road South – and what he means to us all.

This blog was written in 2020, but has been republished to celebrate 50 years of SSJ.

For those who have stepped into my office at Albert Road South, they may have noticed an oil painting hanging above my head. The man in the painting is called Patsy, and there is a reason it is there.

Patsy was a resident in the old Southampton shelter in Bernard Street but he also spent some time in the “new” hostel at 125 Albert Road South, (now head office) when it opened in 1992. He had been a client for many years and had a serious alcohol problem. In those days you could not be admitted into the shelter if you were drunk, so Patsy was often turned away, although he tended to just sit outside, drinking and chatting to everyone. However, in 1994 his health began to deteriorate and he was less able to cause any incidents, so he was often admitted into the building.

He was also incontinent, which meant that he needed to be in a care home, or at least a project that could manage his level of need. If he was housed in the hostel and we provided care, we were breaking the law, as we were not registered as a care provider (registered care home). The project staff came up with the solution of smuggling him into the building and not telling me, and dealing with incontinence as it occurred.

After a few weeks I discovered what had been going on and rang various parts of the NHS to see if we could get a District Nurse or some other health professional to help. None was available and we continued to house Patsy until he was taken into hospital where he died.Twenty-five years after his death, systems and services are very different. We have developed a wider range of services and our work has improved greatly. There is a wider range of options to offer people but there is still much to be done.

It is good to have Patsy hanging on the wall in my office , looking down at me and reminding me what we need to be focusing on.

– Trevor Pickup