"My Daughter and her struggles"

About: Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust / Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services – Community(City) Specialist services / Children's Speech and Language Therapy

(as a parent/guardian),

I have recently seen a Speech & Language Therapist with my 13 year old daughter. On speaking to Nicola, she asked if I could share my views on our experience and care received.

My daughter has struggled many years with anxiety and upset stomach/sickness, we have always reported our concerns to our GP. I asked numerous times if CAMHS would be an option to help her and I was initially told by a GP that she did not fit the criteria and you would have to be self harming to be seen (said in front of my child). Obviously this horrified me as I was trying to get help for my daughter so it wouldn't escalate to this. They offered anxiety counselling August 2018 at our local health centre of which we attended 3 appointments. Unfortunately my daughter felt the sessions were no help and she told the counsellor what she wanted to hear so she could get discharged. My daughter at the time did not believe she suffered with anxiety and was adamant she was poorly.

After numerous visits to our GP as my daughters  symptoms  were severely affecting her school attendance we were finally referred to a Community Peadiatrician, who thankfully listened and referred us to CAMHS  and requested an ASD assessment.

We have seen a mental health practitioner a few times now and she is currently trying to get my daughter some CBT therapy, as she believes this will help with her anxiety symptoms. The health practitioner has been lovely in trying to help us, but her hands seem very tied with the resources that she has as the waiting lists are very high. I was even shocked to learn that she doesn't have access to all the information we have provided to other people that are involved in my daughters care. It would be so much simpler if everyone was kept  in the loop of a patients care plan and it not being left to the carer having to go over the same information all the time and update different parties. 

I have given permission for the Speech & Language Therapist to inform my daughters mental health practitioner of her finding and send her a copy report as I think this is necessary for her to have all the facts, when planning therapy for my daughter.

I appreciate that the Mental Health Care system in very under funded and currently broken and I have been advised that things will change and improve in the future, but this needs to be sooner than later so children get seen quicker and offered the help they need to cope with their suffering so it doesn't escalate to the next level.

Another point I mentioned to my GP was my concerns over my daughters school attendance as I am getting phone calls and letters from the school. I was advised by my GP in front of my daughter not to worry about school, and advised about a patient that had not been to school for 6 months and locked themselves away in their bedroom. As you can imagine again I was horrified this was said in front of my daughter as she now thinks her attendance is not an issue and nothing for us to worry about. I have told her it is a concern and she needs to be in school, but because she has been told differently by a medical professional it's hard to advise her otherwise. 

I appreciate the GP may have only being tying to help by saying there are worse of people than us and that the school have not taken action, with them, but they used their choice of words totally inappropriately, especially in front of my child.

I believe that our GP's need more training in mental health, or there to be at least a GP that can specialise in this field within a Dr's surgery. I understand that GP's are strapped for time and their hands are also tied when it comes to referrals, but something seriously needs to change in the future, to make the whole process easier and less stressful. 

Hopefully now we are in the hands of CAMHS,Community Paediatrics and Speech & Language Therapist, my daughter will get the help she truely needs.

Responses

Response from Alice Birch, Patient Experience Co-ordinator, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Hello,

Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback with us. I am very sorry to hear of the difficulties you have experienced in getting your daughter the appropriate care and treatment. I do hope that your daughter is now on the road to getting the care she needs.

We would be interested to speak to you and get some more information about your experiences to date, particularly so we can make sure your feedback is shared with all the relevant services. If you would be willing to do this, please could you email Richard Glover (Integrated Service Manager - Community CAMHS) at Richard.Glover@nottshc.nhs.uk with your contact details. Richard will then be able to make contact with you to discuss your experiences further.

Best wishes,

Alice Birch

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