"Memory Loss and Atorvastatin"

About: Hollins Park / Austen Ward

(as the patient),

For many years now, it had been discussed within my wider family about certain family members having had some type of mental issues, i.e. memory loss, dementia, etc.

About eighteen months ago, I too had some concerns as to whether I was to suffer the same fate. This came about because I would go into a room for a specific reason, only to forget what that reason was when I got there. After consulting my GP, I was given some memory tests and, since my GP was aware of my family history, it was decided that he would arrange an appointment for me at the Hollins Park hospital.

A few days before this appointment, an assistant to the Consultant Psychiatrist carried out a series of memory tests. The assistant asked for a list of my medication and so I explained which drugs I took and what each drug was for. There were no implications of the tests conveyed to either my wife or myself.

At the appointment with the CP, I was told that I would require a series of scans, a medication review, and a neuropsychological review, which was to be carried out at the Walton hospital.

At the neuropsychological consultation at Walton hospital, I was again asked for a list of medication at the first consultation. On the second consultation, tests were completed and I asked the psychiatrist to give me the results of the tests at a future appointment, which was agreed. I sent two e-mails via the psychiatrist’s office as a reminder, but this private consultation did not materialise. I even suggested receiving the test results over the telephone. The tests and reviews took a year to complete and, just prior to my appointment with the Hollins Park psychiatrist, the assistant carried out the same tests as were performed a year ago. This assistant then informed me that because I had completed these tests, my grandchildren’s details were required so that they could be put on a database. Having given these details I was then informed, in an unclear and roundabout manner, that I would not be allowed to look after my grandchildren without the attendance of another adult. This implied that I could not take responsibility for my own grandchildren. My grandchildren’s parents were informed by my wife and they hit the roof.

The following day, my wife and I saw the psychiatrist at Hollins Park for the test results. The CP explained that there was no evidence of memory loss and no evidence of dementia. This was brilliant news for me and worthy of celebration. They went on to say that the blood flow scans had detected a reduction of blood to one part of the brain and the implications were unknown. The neuropsychological tests at Walton hospital could not be understood by the psychiatrist at Walton or at Hollins Park. During the discussions that followed, there was a debate about my driving ability and the grandchildren’s database. The psychiatrist informed DVLA so I could have a retest. At my initiative two weeks later, I took and passed the Institute of Advanced Motorists Drivers Assessment Test.

Following this, the CP’s attention was then drawn to the fact that, since the Christmas period, I had been extremely ill with a chest complaint and that, whilst taking several types of antibiotics, the GP had requested that I refrain from taking Atorvastatin, a cholesterol lowering medication. After starting to take Atorvastatin again (on my GP’s instruction), I found that I did not feel right and that my mind had become foggy. The psychiatrist consulted a medical book and said that Atorvastatin does cause nausea and recommended that my GP be consulted.

We then discussed the grandchildren’s database and expressed the concern of the whole family. The psychiatrist explained the system but it was not understood as to what the implications were. So, we asked for a written explanation and were told that there was no patient information about this. We also noted that, at no time did the psychiatrist inform me that I could not take sole responsibility for my grandchildren or anyone else’s children. However, it was agreed that the assistant would explain the database implications to me and to the grandchildren’s parents.

Eventually, I discovered from the Atorvastatin Patient Information Leaflet that a side-effect of Atorvastatin is memory loss, but this was never explained to me by the CP. I have written to the psychiatrist explaining my discovery and asked for a consultation appointment as soon as practically possible so that the above can be discussed, but I have not been granted an urgent appointment and the next one is in December.

The discovery that Atorvastatin causes memory loss raises several questions, the chief of which is: ‘What happened to the medication reviews conducted at both Hollins Park Hospital and at Walton hospital?’ Surely both CPs must be aware of the side-effects of Atorvastatin?

This is my story and I feel very much let down by the Five Boroughs Partnership, as I have had to suffer this memory loss side-effect for longer than necessary. I also feel upset by the way the subject of my grandchildren was raised and discussed with me.

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Response from 5 Boroughs Partnership NHS Trust

Thank you for this posting which covers some difficult and complicated issues.

I am aware that around the time you made this posting you also raised these issues in a formal complaint, which was fully investigated through the NHS complaints process.

As you know, your concerns have also been reviewed by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman’s office (PHSO) as the final stage of the NHS Complaints process, who have confirmed that they will not be taking this matter any further.