"The Cavell Centre Peterborough"

About: Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust

(as the patient),

My time on the Acute Assessment Unit at the Cavell Centre was a horrendous experience. I won't go into the full details as I am too scared that I'll be identified and subjected to negative criticism or abuse or this being blamed on my mental illness. I have had several admissions to this ward in the past and each time I've found some of staff to be really cold and unapproachable, some lack total empathy, compassion and understanding whilst others do not seem to want to listen or acknowledge, there have been times when I felt like a prisoner, trapped in a place where you would think you'd be in a place of safety and respite but it's only when you're given a lovely warm welcome and than you really start to feel the deception and ignorance after a couple of days of stay here and realise that all isn't as it seems.

This last admission was horrific and all I can say is if asking for help and being brushed off wasn't bad enough than how would it feel to end up curled up on the floor crying to just be left and ignored? I still can't to this day understand what I did wrong? I hardly came out of my room after that and was too traumatized, too scared to call anybody or go out there and ask for help.

Even though I was feeling very depressed and anxious, it felt like none of them took me seriously enough, literally I was in my bedroom just staring in to space, couldn't sleep well, didn't feel like eating, didn't want to live, just kept praying that something terrible would happen to me, like die of a heart attack because I'm pretty sure the staff wouldn't of cared, let alone have taken a blind notice. If dealing with the mental pain couldn't be any worse than actually feeling like you were dying from it, honestly, can someone please just tell me how far do you have go to get a little attention? how more expressive do you have to get before it just looks like someone who's an attention-seeker? I didn't kill myself but tried to, and they probably saw it why? Because that is how FAR you have to get to actually be taken seriously and heard but even that tactic doesn't work with them because it's AAU and you're not suppose to harm yourself or make threats.

It's hard having to live with any condition but when you have a mental health problem, the saddest part is than there leaves a big opportunity for some medical professionals to either take advantage or use it against you like when you come into hospital and suddenly all the freedom, choices, personal rights and control is taken away from you....Ok I get there are rules but that doesn't mean it gives them the right to treat people unfairly or differently because of their diagnosis or situation they've come into hospital for.

One incident during the first or second day and I remember it just as clear, I came out of my room during the night, figuring that night time was less busy and I'd be more likely to be listened to, since for starters none of the patients were around and it was very quiet, so I went to the nurses station and asked for some help, a nurse walked out and she told me to sit down on one the lounge chairs so that's what I did, then she walks across to another room because I believe another staff member may have heard something going on, minutes later the same nurse comes out of the room and without any understandable reason or tact she told me -can you go back to your room as you'll disturb the others- so there is me thinking "well I must have deserved that because obviously nobody wants to help me since I'm such a burden to everyone. It made me feel even more worthless and awful and like I mentioned earlier, it was probably one of the things that stopped me leaving my room as much for the rest of the stay.

On the day of discharge I saw the Psychiatrist and by than I was just feeling completely weak and tired, even doctors can be cold-hearted or show very little emotion, he asked me several questions to which I didn't know many of the answers for, as there was so much I also wanted to talk about, my mind went simply blank and to him it may have looked like another one of my "tactics" It's actually quite interesting when you sit just a few metres away and they seem to imagine or know everything about you but not necessarily coming across as being focused or that interested with what is really going on inside your head other than analysing everything you say as mere meaningless talk that isnt of any true significance to how you are really feeling.

I asked the Psychiatrist to look into something that might help me and it honestly felt they would really follow up on that suggestion but I am still here, waiting and haven't heard anything more on it.

Since being discharged from AAU the experience I had there has left me deeply traumatized, angry and feeling even more alone and isolated with the condition. I no longer trust psychiatrists or mental health professionals and I'll never go back to that unit if I have another relapse as I feel too frightened and let down by the whole system in general"

I just hope with time my condition will improve and be able to go out again, find inner confidence, peace and get my life back, which feels like it has been taken away from me but at the moment it's really difficult because if I talk it never feels right and whatever I say or do it is blamed all on my diagnosis...It's like I'm not allowed to be a real human being and have any real emotions, therefore my feelings don't count or are just fabrications and I'd rather just keep them bottled in now and stay away from people so I don't get hurt again but what is quite obvious is that I'm basically all alone with this for the long haul.

Do you have a similar story to tell? Tell your story & make a difference ››


Response from Annie Ng, Head of Patient Experience, Cambridgeshire And Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust

Dear Chocolates,

Thank you for your feedback. I am very sorry that you have had a poor experience of the Assessment Unit. I have shared your feedback with senior colleagues from the Adult Directorate and they would also like to apologise for your experience whilst staying on the Acute Assessment Unit. What you have described is not the experience we would wish for anyone who uses our service. The unit aim to provide a high quality service and sometimes this may mean transferring care from the ward to the community team or to the Crisis Resolution Home Treatment Team, helping people with their recovery journey in their own homes. The team always try to do their best for the service users and unfortunately, sometimes we don't always get it right. When this happens, we are always keen to learn and improve. As you have highlighted a number of very important areas in your feedback, it would be very helpful for us to formally look into the events so that we can learn and improve. If you would like to do this, please contact me at the Patient Experience Team on Freephone 0800 376 0775 or pals@cpft.nhs.uk. It is important to the Trust that any of our service users or carers feel safe and confident to raise concerns or make a formal complaint whilst under our care.

In the mean time, senior colleagues in the Assessment Unit and the Directorate will share your feedback with the wider team to highlight any learning as a matter of priority.

Once again, we are very grateful for your feedback.

Annie Ng

Head of Patient Experience

  • Chocolates thinks this response is helpful
    {{helpful-1}} other {{helpful-1 == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} so too

Update posted by Chocolates (the patient)

Thank you for your response. I want to try and help in any way that I can.

Response from Annie Ng, Head of Patient Experience, Cambridgeshire And Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for your response and your offer to help our service to improve. In order to do this It would be really helpful if you can contact me directly. My work email is: annie.ng@cpft.nhs.uk.

I would like to reassure you that your feedback really matters to our Trust. I hope to hear from you soon.

Kind regards

Annie Ng

  • Chocolates thinks this response is helpful
    {{helpful-1}} other {{helpful-1 == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} so too