"Crisis care and the impact of cuts in funding"

About: Devon Partnership NHS Trust / Crisis resolution

(as the patient),

My recovery coordinator was away for a month or so…I had my final meeting with her today as she is leaving. Before she left she recommended that I called the duty worker or the crisis team if I had a crisis.

I was supposed to receive an extra two hours direct payments a week as well for two months because my twice weekly therapy had stopped and I have extreme anxiety and flashbacks around the christmas period. My parents are elderly and very unwell. My father nearly died in hospital, it brought up many issues for me.

The schism of wanting to care for them and my nightly and sometimes daily flashbacks from child hood sometimes evoked choking and vomiting and worse in terror. The flashbacks take me back to when I wanted to die as a child, sometimes I harm myself sometimes to the point of wanting to die and/or risking my life.

I called the mental health team and was assured on 3 occasions that the duty worker would get back to me but no one did. I also phoned the crisis team who told me they had no practical solutions and to call samaritans. My additional direct payments were not sent.

I overdosed on sunday. I explained all this to my recovery coordinator and she explained about cuts etc and encouraged me to make a complaint but said she would not be there to support me because she was leaving next tuesday. I asked when I would next see someone and who that would be. She told me she did not know and couldn't honestly know if she would find out.

I told her these were not new experiences for me since under mental health "care" and such appalling crisis care is actually counter productive and could have killed me if had not got a background in professional care myself…(The adult in me can at least rationalise I deserve a better service than this)…. but it still makes me feel utterly worthless and alone with the indifference of a system that is in itself in crisis and unable to help and could have killed me…. or someone else in a similar state!

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Update posted by gianetti (the patient)

I did call the manager re the above and leave a message and have not yet received a response, I have however talked to a duty social worker and was relieved just to have not got a black hole of crisis care…and some quality of empathy and consideration regarding my predicament although no answers.

It is all about being short staffed it seems as a result of cuts in funding. It seems important to give voice to the impact of this and not to feel like a passive victim or take my anger out on myself any more!

I have had a response from the quality care commissioners regarding another post and I would encourage anyone meeting these difficulties to contact them directly as this seems the best avenue to actually get heard.

Response from Peter Brain, Volunteer, Healthwatch Devon

Dear 'Gianetti'

As you know from previous postings, the comments and responses on the web-site of Patient Opinion are passed to us at Healthwatch.

As we try to be representative of the best interests of patients we are building a picture of the provision of services in Devon and these comments will help the NHS and other providers develop and improve their services.

I am not clear whether you have been in touch with Healthwatch as such. But let me repeat the invitation to discuss any health or social care issues with us in confidence. Please call 0800 520 0640, or email info@healthwatchdevon.co.uk or go on-line to www.healthwatchdevon.co.uk.

Yours sincerely

Peter Brain


Healthwatch Devon is the consumer champion for Health and Social Care in Devon.

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

Update posted by gianetti (the patient)

I have called health watch and am awaiting a response

Update posted by gianetti (the patient)

I am still awaiting a response from health watch….I have still not received a timeline regarding an allocation for a recovery coordinator. I was assured the manager would call me back a few days ago but this has not happened and she is leaving or might have left already? The crisis plan I have remains mostly ineffective, the crisis team refer me to the samaritans, the samaritans want me to talk with "someone medical", the last duty worker I spoke to with no anger in my voice…not complaining but wanting to talk about the level of distress triggered by this limbo got angry with me…when I pointed out it was hard to talk about my suicidal feelings when I had read a recent report for devon saying 75% of people deemed a danger to themselves are referred to a police cell for the night…She told me my distress was " your (my) own fault for reading statistics out of context." And when I pointed out that given that I had been given no information by the mental health team as to what was going but left in limbo without a coordinator she could blame me for reading reports to try and ascertain what was happening…She then referred me through gritted teeth to the complaints process which it was already on file I am engaged with and I see no positive outcome…I fear alienating myself further…and yet accepting powerlessness and feeling like a passive victim triggers me into acts of self harm and suicidal feelings…having my reality denied or bad treatment blamed on me replicates the abuse I experience as a child which led to my mental health condition…I feel now in a catch 22 with little hope of escape..

I am mentally ill and hence who deems my experience credible?? Clearly many others are suffering..the report was written in July 2014 but has anything changed for the better….Is there the will to make changes, is there any body in the system who cares enough to make this front page news as oppose to back page news!!!

Update posted by gianetti (the patient)

I have been now allocated a coordinator who I will meet with next week….so its taken from the 22nd january till what will be a similar time in march before I meet with my new coordinator, which feels so very unacceptable and quite shocking!

I have taken great lengths to ascertain the cause of this…which seems to be a mixture of staff leaving and restructuring occurring simultaneously and no interim planning. I cannot imagine people with life threatening physical conditions being treated in this way…or maybe I can…Its very heart breaking. I am grateful I have the allocation. Its a shame that no adequate interim arrangements were made, that the crisis team are unwilling to help me in a crisis and that mostly staff were unavailable and unreliable in returning my calls. I am going through a complaints process which is scary and I deeply appreciate all those professionals who manage to treat me with humanity and who understand I am not complaining about individuals because I see the problem is systemic…..I see it must be extremely hard to work for and within a system with inadequate resources and constant change. I know this situation nearly killed me I hope it did not have this impact on anyone else but suspect it may have done. I wish I could have input into training the crisis and mental health teams…I want to help create a better service. I am complaining because I could not live with myself if I didn't make some effort to save someone going through what I have been through.