"Accessing Mental Health Services in the NHS"

About: Somerset NHS Foundation Trust / Adult community mental health

(as a service user),

I have a Severe Hearing Loss, have a Disability and suffer from Depression and Mental Health issues. I was referred by my doctor to a Talking Therapies service in Taunton, Somerset.

Despite making it very clear that I have severe hearing loss and struggle to understand what people are saying to me, I met this person whom despite my appointment being for an hour, rushed me out after 40 minutes, I struggled to understand what was said and told them clearly that I simply could not understand.

I continually struggle to access services within the NHS and it appears to me that no-one in the NHS truly has any understanding of the difficulties those with hearing loss face, not even those working within the ENT unit! No support or assistance was provided or offered to enable me to understand either.

I was then sent an encoded email from Talking Therapies which I was unable to access and now they have sent me a letter   stating that they will discharge me because I have allegedly not responded, I did respond telling them that I could not access the encoded email. I'm unclear as to why they have made it so difficult to access their service and feel very disappointed at the lack of awareness surrounding the issues those with hearing loss face on a daily basis!


Response from Marc McDonagh, Service Lead, Talking Therapies, Mental Health & Learning Disabilities Directorate, Somerset NHS Foundation Trust 6 months ago
Marc McDonagh
Service Lead, Talking Therapies, Mental Health & Learning Disabilities Directorate,
Somerset NHS Foundation Trust

Lead a primary care psychological therapies service.

Submitted on 20/03/2020 at 11:04
Published on Care Opinion at 11:04

Dear Jamie101

I'm sorry to hear your experience of our service has been so bad on this occasion. I apologise for my late response, but have been distracted by emergency planning around Covid-19.

We take patient feedback very seriously indeed and attempt to adapt our services where we can to meet the needs of our patients. I would very much like to hear more of your ideas on how we might better meet the needs of patients with hearing loss. It would be useful if myself and my colleague Lucy Nicholls, our Inclusion Manager, could meet with you to hear your advice. However, I have no information on your identity or contact details from this forum. If you would like to contact the service on 01823 346136 or 346135 and leave a phone number and best times to contact you, or write to me at
Talking Therapies
Parkgate House
East Reach
Taunton TA2 3ES

We normally offer assessment sessions on the phone. You were offered a face to face appointment to better meet your hearing needs. But it appears we still failed to give you a sense of proper access to our services and communicated unhelpfully with encoded emails. We can re-open your referral now and consider treatment, if you let us know when you call or write to us.

Thank you.
Marc McDonagh, Service Led

  • {{helpful}} {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} this response is helpful
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