"Left feeling vulnerable and isolated"

About: NHS 24 / Breathing Space (Phoneline)

(as a service user),

I called Breathing Space to talk about a number of issues I have had going on in life. I have various health problems, I am disabled, and I have depression and anxiety. I cannot leave my house to do the most basic things like get food in. I feel isolated, alone, vulnerable, and that I am getting no support.

I found the call handler rude and unsympathetic. They continually argued with me that and asked who said I was vulnerable? Who said I had disabilities? Who said I was isolated? 

They then told me that my physical disabilities were just my opinion, and that if what I was saying was true then I must be the unluckiest person alive. They then told me that I have a twisted mind. They said that I have a huge ego and that I feel entitled to food and support and that I don't listen to what anyone says. They said that it was time I took responsibility for myself.

I called Breathing Space because I wanted to get help and support for the way I am feeling emotionally. I now feel isolated, alone, vulnerable, and terrified. I don't think I would feel able to call them again, but I wanted to share my story here to make sure that this doesn't happen to anyone else.

Responses

Response from Shona Lawrence, Patient Experience Manager, NHS 24 13 months ago
Shona Lawrence
Patient Experience Manager,
NHS 24
Submitted on 03/06/2019 at 17:26
Published on Care Opinion at 17:26


picture of Shona Lawrence

Dear Apple56

I am very sorry to learn of your experience of calling Breathing Space and I would like to assure you that I will share your story with the appropriate senior staff team. As you may be aware, all calls to Breathing Space are anonymous so please be assured that no confidential information can be shared.

Breathing Space is primarily a listening service for people who experience low mood and anxiety. The staff are highly trained and their listening skills and empathy are paramount in their role. I am so sorry you had such a poor experience and I understand why you feel you are not able to call again. This is not the sort of feedback we wish to receive on our service. Should you require support and feel you cannot call Breathing Space, please contact either our 111 service or the Samaritans, if more appropriate.

Given that you don't want this to happen to someone else, it would be good for me to understand your experience in more detail. If you would be kind enough to contact me directly then we can discuss this. You can contact me confidentially on 0141 337 4582 or by email at shona.Lawrence@nhs24.scot.nhs.uk

Thanks again for logging your feedback on Care Opinion which I am sure took a lot of courage.

I wish you well and hope to hear from you.

With kind regards

Shona

Shona Lawrence

NHS 24 Patient Affairs Manager

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Response from Shona Lawrence, Patient Experience Manager, NHS 24 13 months ago
Shona Lawrence
Patient Experience Manager,
NHS 24
Submitted on 05/06/2019 at 14:42
Published on Care Opinion at 14:42


picture of Shona Lawrence


Dear Apple56

Thank you so much for taking the time to contact me directly. I was hopeful that you would get in touch and it was a pleasure to speak with you. I absolutely understand your strength of feeling regarding the issue you have raised and it was clear to me that speaking about it was difficult for you. I do wish you well.

Please be assured that I have shared what you have described with senior staff.

Again, I am very sorry that your experience of using our Breathing Space service was not a positive one. I understand you have had positive interactions previously and I hope that, through time, you feel able to contact the service again.

Just a reminder about what we discussed in relation to the recently launched NHS 24 Mental Health Hub. This service is currently available from Thursday - Sunday 6pm - 2am. When you call 111 at this time, by selecting a particular option within our phone menu, your call will be directed to a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner, who can provide support and advice. I hope this information is helpful.

Thanks again for calling today.

Take care

Shona

Shona Lawrence

NHS 24 Patient Affairs Manager

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