"Mental Health Advocates"

About: Leigh Infirmary Mh Oupatients Clinic / Women's Mental Health Unit

(as a carer),

My daughter was admitted to a mental health unit two weeks ago. Firstly, she was due to see a consultant last Wednesday but a consultant never appeared and no explanation was offered as to why, so my daughter, who has been very ill, has had to wait a week to be properly assessed. Hopefully she will be seen today - apparently, consultants only visit weekly. A friend suggested I request a mental health advocate to be with her during the consultation, to support her, as I work full-time so could not attend with her. I was unaware that I could request this and rang the ward this morning. I was told that it would not be possible at such short notice, and that there is a waiting list, but that they would arrange for an advocate to visit my daughter and to be with her during future consultations. Advocacy Service availability should be clearly specified, on admission, to patients/relatives, as others, like myself, may not be aware of the service. I have voiced my concerns to the PALS Service.

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Response from Debbie Wilkins, Secretary Wigan, 5 Boroughs Parternship NHS Trust

Thank you for taking the time to post your comments on to the patient opinion website.

The delay in your daughter being reviewed by a consultant is unacceptable, as is the consultant failing to attend the appointment, without prior planning.

The consultants each have a junior doctor working with them. Whilst the consultants generally only visit the ward once a week their junior doctors are there on a daily basis. Monday - Friday between the hours of 9 - 5, after which time an on-call doctor is available for emergencies.

In the future we plan to have 2 consultants dedicated to our inpatients unit, giving Service Users instant access to their specialist care that they require. When these consultants are in post our aim will be to have all admissions reviewed by a consultant within 72 hours of admissionl. The wards have links with the Advocacy Service and do refer Service Users to them. Both Advocacy and PAL Services should be advertised on the ward notice boards and literature on display. I will now check that the services are adequately advertised on our wards and remind staff of the availability of these services.

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