"Nowhere to turn for support"

About: North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

(as the patient),

As someone with long term mental health problems, I feel compelled to write about my recent experience.

After several years of care and support, whilst slowly watching the bedrock of my care withdrawn without warning - Enhanced Care Plan to no care plan, Regular support from a CPN to no support - it has now reached the point that I am in a total quandry as to what to do.

After referral to a NHS managing emotions group, I duly attended whereupon it was emphasised that it was important to have a crisis plan, in case the group work brought up difficult or distressing emotions.

As someone who self-injures, it would seem appropriate and satisfying duty of care that such a plan be in place before any therapeutic work. After discussion with the professional concerned, I pointed out that I didn't have any formal support which I could access should things go wrong, and it was agreed that this would be put to the Recovery Team to see what was available.

I was informed yesterday that no support was available, aside from ringing the Duty Officer at the Recovery team. If you manage to get through to Claire House (without being cut off with a 'sorry we're busy' message - ideal for people who may have reached their final straw! ) the poor staff on duty I think are saddled with an almost impossible task. Dealing with someone in crisis is not simply solved with an admonishment that 'you need to prioritise and solve your problems' type approach.

I have been on the receiving end of this approach in the last few months, and have to admit I found it less helpful than the old 'have a nice bath' approach seemingly much favoured by crisis teams in the past. It was also suggested yesterday that there was always A+E.....

So in essence, my issue is this. How can I undertake therapy to help with severe emotional problems, which requires a crisis plan detailing what support I will access in crisis/distress when there is no support available?

It is important to stress that this is in no way a reflection upon the psychology staff involved who have always been professional, compassionate and courteous.

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Response from Katherine Earlam, PALS Officer, 5 Boroughs Partnership NHS Trust

Hello thank you for taking the time to post your comments, I will pass on the posting to Cheryl Forrest - Matron for Adult Services.

If you need any further help or support please do not hesitate in contacting PALS service on the following number:-

Jacqui Sellek/Katherine Earlam - 01925 664014 / 664450

kind regards

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Response from Katherine Earlam, PALS Officer, 5 Boroughs Partnership NHS Trust

If someone is referred to the managing emotions group then the first appointment is spent discussing boundaries of the group and ensuring people have access to support both in and out of hours.

This is called a crisis plan or contingency plan by staff. This is usual for all service users who attend. I apologise if this was not clearly explained. In essence it is contact details of whom to contact I.e. a duty officer in office hours or assessment team out of hours. Once a service user contacts these services it is assessed Individually what would be offered based on the situation. As we are a recovery service the focus is on an individual’s strengths despite their mental illness I.e. enabling not disabling

If snow dog would like an more in-depth explanation of the above Cheryl and/ or myself we would be happy for him to contact us Beverley Curtis team manager 01942 482130 or Cheryl Forrest matron on 01942 262622

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