"Crisis team are letting us down"

About: Lord St Resource Centre North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

(as a friend),

I have just spoken to my friend who was on the phone in bits to me. After spending months in hospital, she was discharged, given a weeks support from St Helens Crisis Team and that was it.

Last night, she had a bad experience which left her in extreme distress. She called Hollins Park switch only to be told she is not on the list, and to call back in the morning, an experience, I had only last week.

She called NHS Direct who put her in touch with her on call doctor, who then contacted the on call social worker, who wouldn't call her back!

This morning she has contacted the CRT again, and was told somebody would come out at 1pm. She then received a phonecall to say it would be 2pm. it's now 2.30pm and nobody has turned up. She just called them, and surprise surprise the person supposed to be coming out to see her is not on her way yet - is it so difficult to make a phonecall to say you'll be late?

Once again, we (the service users) are being let down by the CRT - should we deteriorate and go into crisis after 9pm there isn't much support out there. Last night, she was told to go to A&E - she was too anxious to even leave the house, and so she was left, to battle it out alone - I am just glad she got through it without taking drastic action.

Other experiences friends of mine have had... when calling the CRT the response from them was "can you call back in half an hour we are having a meeting"... when calling at midnight one night in winter, I was told to go out for a walk. A friend of mine was told "you've been through all this before, there is nothing we can do for you!"...

We're not expecting or asking for miracles... just some respect, and humane support when we feel at our most vulnerable!

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Response from Maria Slater

I am sorry to hear that your friend and yourself experienced difficulties in accessing our Crisis Resolution Home Treatment Team. In relation to your friend, I am unable to comment on her care specifically as I would need her expressed permission. However, I can comment on some general principles of the care input process.

Support following discharge from the in-patient unit is a clinical decision based upon need, which is agreed in the pre-discharge meeting between the client, carer and professionals, including the Psychiatrist. Therefore the level and duration of intervention is decided prior to discharge by all of the people involved and not just by an individual professional or team. Recently the service has received a number of comments and opinions regarding accessing the Crisis Team, particularly after 9pm. In response to this feedback, we are currently reviewing the criteria for out of hour’s response by the on-call professional.

We are sorry that the Crisis Team were late to attend a previously arranged appointment. The unpredictable nature of crisis work and home treatment can mean that specific appointment times can become extended and changed. We have requested that staff explain this to clients in future and offer a time frame of 2 hours for attending individual’s homes and that the individual is kept informed of any possible delays.

In response to your feedback, the team are reviewing their Service User and Carer leaflet to make sure that we provide clear information around the level of intervention the service can provide, clarifying the role and function of the Crisis Team.

From what you have described, it would appear that on this particular occasion, a number of the out of hour’s service failed to deliver to expectation. We will liaise with our partner agencies, namely the Primary Care Trust (PCT) and Local Authority (Council) in order to ensure that individuals have better access to GPs and Emergency Duty Teams out of hours.

The service would really welcome your personal input in our attempt to communicate more effectively with our service users and carers and can I ask that you would consider contacting me on 01744 646760 to discuss this further. Yours sincerely Maria Slater

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