"Treatment of mentally ill patients in A&E"

About: Worthing Hospital

I recently accompanied a relative who was suffering with stress related condition resulting in him being extremely agitated, confused and delusional. He was clearly suffering with a mental condition that required urgent treatment. Although the staff in the A&E Clinical Diagnostic Unit (CDU) ward were very helpful and caring, he was asked to wait for assessment in bed that was surrounded by people with physical injury. One patient in the CDU was vomiting and another was crying out in pain. Placement of mental patients along with those suffering from physical injury is completely inappropriate and dangerous (for both types of patients). People with mental problems need to wait in a safe, calm and low stress environment. In the case of my relative, he found the CDU ward was too stressful and he spent his time pacing up and down the corridor outside the ward. We had arrived at Worthing A&E at 05:00 in the morning and he had to wait until 07:00 in the evening before he was admitted to a psychiatric ward in another hospital. In my view it is appalling that we are placing mentally ill people in beds next to people with physical injury. Mental illness should be given better resources, higher priority and treated more sensitively.

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from Worthing Hospital

Thank you for taking the time to leave your feedback. We are very sorry to hear of your experience and agree that the A&E environment can be distressing for someone who is already feeling stressed and frightened. The NHS Choices website is anonymous, and your details are not shared directly with the Trust. However, we would like the opportunity to discuss your experience with you in more detail as we are looking at potential changes to the hospital environment to improve the experience of all our patients. We would also ensure any lessons are shared with the other hospital trust involved in your relative’s care. Therefore, we would encourage you to contact the Trust directly. You can do this by visiting our website www.westernsussexhospitals.nhs.uk/contacts/pals/, calling our PALS department on 01903 285032 Or emailing us at PALSWorthing@wsht.nhs.uk

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