"Lack of communication between different bits of the NHS (Mental illness, Hertfordshire)"

About: Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust / Adult mental health NHS Herts Valleys CCG

(as a carer),

I am a carer for a paranoid schizophrenic - we have been friends, and now neighbours, for nearly 20 years.

I cannot remember the number of times changes in his prescriptions takes ages to 'travel' from consultant to doctor and then to pharmacy. Recently we saw a psychiatrist & he agreed to some changes in his medications - this was in a brand new Community Mental Health centre in Hetfordshire. About ten days later, I went to collect his latest prescription in Morrisons - they hadn't altered his medications. They kindly phoned up his GP. They knew nothing about the changes either. We phoned my friend's CPN to see what was happening. He phoned me back, and said, 'They're just writing the letter [at the CMT] to his doctor now, and I'm going to take it over there in person. ' [Suggesting that the psychiatrist's secretary hadn't written the letter until my friend's CPN asked where it was! ]

In the meantime, because of my friend's agitation about this & other issues, he had to go into hospital. There his medication was changed slightly again. Four weeks later, he has come home with about a fortnight's supply of medications. I checked in at Morrisons - his surgery had continued sending the old prescription for 4 weeks while he was in hospital. They claimed never got the letter that my friend's CPN said he had delivered to the surgery a month ago. This meant that I had to phone up my friend's CPN, and also leave a message at the Crisis Team who are responsible for looking after him in the immediate post-hospital period.

This happens all the time. A letter detailing changes in medication goes from the mental health professionals and then disappears into thin air. Both the mental health teams or the doctors' practices are incompetent. It's quite wrong that patients with mental health problems should be treated this way. Why does it take a fortnight or over a month (or never) for a matter of some importance to 'travel' within a small city in Hertfordshire? Why does a carer (who also mental health problems) have to chase up these things?

What could be improved? Proper computerisation in the NHS.

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Response from Mary Stephenson, Complaints and Service Experience Manager, Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Dear 'Resolution'

Thank you for posting your comments. We are very sorry that you have experienced problems with obtaining prescriptions for the person you care for. Clearly this situation is not acceptable and your posting has been brought to the attention of senior managers in our community mental health services.

It would help us if you could contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service on 01727 804629 to let us have more details about your friend and the team and unit you are referring to so we can find out what went wrong in your friends case and make sure it does not happen to anyone else.

  • resolution thinks this response is helpful
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Update posted by resolution (a carer)

Thank you for your response. Things have, more or less, been sorted out now. The pharmacist at Morrisons has been very friendly and helpful. I prefer not to take things any further, and just hope we (and other people) don't have cause to complain again in the immediate future.