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"Mental health support"

About: Tayside Community Services / Community Mental Health

(as a service user),


In the early part of 2018 I received counselling as I had recently escaped from an abusive relationship and recognised its impact on my mental health and wellbeing.  The counsellor told my I exhibited the symptoms of complex PTSD and recommended I approach my GP for NHS referral, which I did in December 2018.  In May 2019 I was given an appointment for late July.  In early July I was called and told the appointment had to be cancelled and a new appointment would be issued.  However, that date was unsuitable.  The next available date was late October at which point I was assessed and advised that I should be treated by the service.  I would receive an appointment to explore what treatment might be the most appropriate, although this could take up to six months.

Having heard nothing further by late January I called my GP to ask for any news and they spoke with the service on my behalf.  A few days later I received an appointment for February.  This date was also unsuitable but on contacting the service it was clear that there would be further delay so I cancelled my other commitment and kept the appointment.

Unfortunately the psychiatrist I saw advised me that the appointment was not in fact the discussion I had been promised and they were unclear as to why I was seeing them.  It appeared that I had simply been given an appointment with the psychiatrist 'in case' I was in crisis.  They recommended I call the service direct to find out where I was in the system.

I have just called and been told that I am 20th on the waiting list.  I am unlikely to get my appointment 'for some considerable time', likely many months.  I will not move up the waiting list until others are discharged and there appears to be no prospect of an appointment for the foreseeable future.

I am struggling and feel very let down, and frustrated.  What are the target times for mental health treatment and what are the resources that are made available for the service to deal with demand?  I really am at a loss to see what help I can get and there seems to be no realistic prospect for support or treatment in the NHS.  It looks like three years, rather than six months is the likely waiting time in my case.


Response from Alison Moss, Feedback Manager, NHS Tayside 14 months ago
Alison Moss
Feedback Manager,
NHS Tayside
Submitted on 26/02/2020 at 17:40
Published on Care Opinion at 17:40

Thank you for taking the time to provide feedback on your experience of accessing care and treatment from psychotherapy services. I am sorry to hear you have found the process in accessing care unhelpfully prolonged and I wish to offer a sincere apology to you for the distress this has caused.

If it would be helpful, I am happy to discuss matters further with you - either by phone or in person. If you would like to accept this offer, please telephone 01382 423052 so that a mutually convenient time can be arranged.

The waiting time target for access to psychological therapy in the NHS is 18 weeks. This is a challenge for the psychotherapy service, as we generally offer longer-term psychological treatment to those in our care. What patients consistently tell us is that, whilst they would like to be seen for treatment sooner, they hugely value having the time to undertake treatment without the worry of a limited number of sessions. In our experience, this helps people derive maximum benefit from their individual therapy. I hope you will benefit from this arrangement when you are allocated a clinician to commence treatment.

As a service, we are also engaged in service development work to look at levels of patient demand and whether we need to adjust our staffing capacity to meet these demands in a more timely manner. This work is on-going, with the aim of reducing waiting times for people referred to the service.

I hope this information is helpful and I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards.

Dr M Ramage

Clinical Lead for Psychotherapy Services

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