"Mental Health"

About: NHS Orkney / Community mental health team

(as the patient),

I had a real problem dealing with stress and depression of a long period (there were a number of factors involved). Whilst the GPs and other associative staff were supportive - I felt that once I had been signed off and been given a prescription that was that. At a point when I most needed support, there didn't appear to be anything available and I was left to my own devices to try and find something suitable.

Fortunately, I came across a mindfulness course and found that very useful - but that was very much by chance.

A referral to the CMHT was offered, but that was after about 10 weeks of being off, and there was a 10-12 week wait for an appointment.

Whilst I appreciate that they are very busy, and are dealing with the "high end" cases - I do believe that if appropriate intervention were at a much earlier stage, then many of these cases could be either avoided or mitigated.

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Response from Julie Tait, Patient Experience Officer, NHS Orkney

Dear MrBlueSky

Thank you for taking the time to share your story with us. I am very sorry to hear that you have been unwell and about the difficulties experienced in accessing mental health services.

I have asked the manager responsible for the service to provide me with some information on how this process could have been improved for you. If you will allow me some time to do so, I will respond as soon as I have heard back from him.

In the meantime, if you would like to discuss this further or in more detail, please don't hesitate to contact me on julietait@nhs.net or by calling 01856 888221.

I do hope your health is improving and that you are on the road to recovery.

Kind regards


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Update posted by MrBlueSky (the patient)


Just to inform you that last month (that being November 2016) I had my FIRST appointment with a member of the Community Mental Health Team.

In NO WAY do I blame any member of the Team as I know they are very thin on the ground and have a massive workload. However, I do feel that the situation needs to be addressed.

In the interim period, I sourced my own mindfulness course through FutureLearn and counseling through Relationships Scotland. There was NO signposting to any of this from NHSO. There is a real risk that a person's mental state could deteriorate rapidly before they get help. Prescriptions and sick-notes are NOT the answer.

Response from Julie Tait, Patient Experience Officer, NHS Orkney

Dear Mr BlueSky

Thank you again for getting in touch. Firstly can I apologise that your initial contact slipped my mind and I did not respond as I said I would. I am very sorry for this.

In relation to today's message, I will ask one of the Senior Managers responsible for Mental Health to offer some information and get back to you as soon as possible.

I am very sorry to hear that it has taken some time for you to secure an appointment with the team and I hope this has a successful outcome for you.

I will be in touch as soon as possible but in the meantime, if you feel you would like to discuss this further, please don't hesitate to contact me on julietait@nhs.net

Kind regards

Julie Tait

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Response from NHS Orkney

Dear Mr Blue Sky,

As I mentioned above, I shared your story with one of the CMHT managers who thanks you for taking the time to write about your experience and agrees you make some very valuable.

The Operational Manager, Angela Colburn-Veitch, has said "The community mental health team have had an extended period of increasing demands compounded by a combination of staff absence and recruitment and retention problems. Many of these issues have now been resolved by the return to work of key staff and the recruitment of new staff. This has meant that we have been able to reduce waiting lists and respond more quickly to individual referrals.

Because of the increased resources within the team we are now in a position to review how we work and feedback, such as provided by you, helps us to make changes in mental health care for the benefit for all future patients.

I am very sorry that your personal contact with mental health services in Orkney was not satisfactory and please can I apologise for this. I do hope that you are now accessing the right treatment and are now able to work towards full recovery.

If you wish to speak to me directly about any of the issues outlined in your message, please do get in touch and I would be happy to meet with you."

Kind regards

Angela Colborn-Veitch, Operational Manager, Community Mental Health Team

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Updates, changes and questions related to this story