Omroep Flevoland – News – Reconstruction of the TBS clinic: ‘Intimidation and relationships are the order of the day’

In the Oostvaarderskliniek in Almere, a marriage was concluded between an employee and a TBS patient. In addition, at least one employee became pregnant from a TBS. That’s what former employee Evita de Miranda says. She and several former TBS patients and employees let Omroep Flevoland know that reported problems in the psychiatric institution are the tip of the iceberg. A total of seven sources say intimidation and relationships were the order of the day, with management consistently looking away.

Former employees speak of a “cover-up culture” at the Oostvaarders clinic. They say there is no place to talk to your supervisor. “Nothing is allowed outside,” says De Miranda. “If you even try to say anything, you will be threatened.” According to her, if you talk about your work outside the clinic, you will be judged for it. De Miranda and other former colleagues say managers keep a close eye on staff and create confusion in the workplace. For example, Emiel de Wolf was fired in 2017 for unclear reasons. The judge could overturn his dismissal because the clinic’s arguments were based on nothing, he says.

‘Bullying behavior and laughing at heartbreak’
TBS patients also say they have had bad experiences with the Oostvaarders clinic. “I know that every morning primary doctors and their team discussed who to tease that day,” says one of them. A former social therapist talks about a TBS’s suicide. This person was in a relationship with a woman who was in another department. She ended the relationship by letter, but this letter was circulated among the staff. The employees are said to have read the letter and laughed at it. “They gave the letter to the patient and then left him to fend for himself,” the former employee said.

And then there were the many relationships between patients and staff, let the former employees know. Employees also had sex with patients. Several sources know of at least one pregnancy. Evita de Miranda says that there were three pregnancies and one marriage: “A psychologist got pregnant, a sociotherapist and a substitute from the department. That substitute was allowed to marry the patient in the clinic. We don’t like it either.” Another source says that everything has always been reported to the management, but they have not wanted to know anything about it. “I myself have had recurring depressions because of this ‘hellhole’.” The problems are at the expense of TBS, says De Miranda.

Four incidents are in black and white
Several former employees already spoke about their former workplace on Saturday. They talked about the abuse of power, a culture of fear, discrimination, drugs and sex. It was in response to the four incidents at the psychiatric center that became known last week. Last Tuesday it became clear that a 60-year-old sociotherapist had forced a patient into sexually abusive behaviour. It was so clear on Thursday that there had been three more incidents. A manager has shown transgressive behavior towards several employees. An employee and intern were also fired because they had started a relationship with a TBS patient.

Director Hendrik Jan van der Lugt resigned a day after the announcement of the first incident. The official reading was that he left due to personal circumstances. According to the sources of Omroep Flevoland, confidence in Van der Lugt had been lost because he was unable to get hold of the organization. Manager Marije Stockel from the Oostvaarderskliniek announced on Thursday that there are huge integrity violations in the psychiatric center. Therefore, there will be an internal investigation for which external expertise will be employed, she stated. Stockel did not comment on whether the staff feel safe.

The cooperation committee is awaiting investigation
The clinic’s working committee says it is not aware of the complaints from the former TBS patients and employees. “We are sad,” says chairman Marco Boersma. “It does a lot for the employees. We await the investigation and look forward to the future.” According to the chairman, there are talks with the top of the clinic. The psychiatric center must come up with an action plan to ensure a safe living and working environment. An independent party will conduct an investigation, which will be monitored by the Justice and Security Inspectorate. An interim director will also be hired to put things in order.

Local residents of the Oostvaarderskliniek are welcome on Saturday evening for an open evening. This meeting was already scheduled. Local residents can get a guided tour. They can also ask questions to patients and staff. The working group Residents Stripheldenbuurt is also involved. This group of local residents is against the planned expansion of the Oostvaarders clinic. They say they see the new problems as proof that things need to be fixed first. A committee of local residents who meet regularly with the Oostvaarderskliniek say the problems are an internal matter for the psychiatric centre.

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