Forensic carers had extensive experience with the named person role under the MHCT Act. Fifteen out of 19 people interviewed and 63% of survey respondents were, or had been, a named person for their relative or friend. While several acknowledged that there were benefits, including that services were more willing to share information with a named person than with carers generally, they associated the role with stress and hard work. For some this resulted from their assumptions about the role:
Thank goodness I’m not a named person because they’re expected to have enormous amounts of knowledge… (father)
When you’re the named person you feel that you have to make an effort to understand the system and the person involved and what’s been done for them and be prepared to ask questions. (mother)
There was mixed experience of the role, and some confusion about it included:
So it’s very stressful for me as well because he’s always… if I do go to the tribunal he’s always wanting me to ask for him to be released and if I think he’s not well enough to be released then and if… you know, then what do I say? I’m completely put on the spot you know and if I were not to say what he wants me to say then he thinks… and he’s in this incredibly negative frame of mind anyway about the medical staff, so then I’m part of the betrayal, so I just find it just horrendous… (mother)
Not only did some forensic carers feel ‘in the dark’ about the named person role, they found that when they contradicted their relatives’ perspective they could be removed as the named person. Some had experience of the named person role changing without explanation, leaving them with little sense of control:
They accepted me as named person for about a year until [name of relative] decided she didn’t want me to be her named person anymore because I wasn’t representing her views. (father)
Changes of named person meant the role could be swapped repeatedly around different family members. Some mentioned that they felt that staff influenced the occupancy of the named person role.