"Appalled at service from the Crisis Team"

About: Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust / Adult mental health Wexham Park Hospital / Accident and emergency

(as the patient),

I was very disappointed with the service I received from the Crisis team over a weekend last year when I told them that I would not need monitoring that weekend as I was visiting my mother and that my phone would be switched off. They phoned me and left messages several times, each day on the Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday asking me to get in touch. Why were they phoning me when we had confirmed that I would not need monitoring that weekend?

Not only did they pestered me with phone calls, they turned up at my dad's house questioning where I was and how I was doing. I was absolutely appalled and my condition was made worse because they had been told by myself not to make any contact with my father as we didn't have a good relationship and at that particular time things were very rocky with my father and I. I gave them my mother' contact info and my boyfriend', so why were neither of them contacted?

On a couple/few occasions they were due to VISIT me and DID NOT turn up and on one occasion they turned up unexpected. When I phoned them to ask why, I was given excuses and told that I had got the day or time wrong. I was made to feel that I had got things mixed up. ( I don't believe this isn't the way to speak to someone that has an unstable mind).

Oh one particular occasion I was waiting in for a HOME VISIT. No one turned up and when I phoned them to question it I was told that they had me down for a PHONE CALL not a HOME VISIT. I questioned, 'why has no one phoned me then? ' I was told that as I had phoned them, e. g. meaning the phone call I was actually having they don't need to phone me. This made no sense... I rang them after the time slot they said they would visit me in so weather I had actually got it wrong or not (which I didn't) they still NEVER phoned me. I tried to explain this to the person on the phone, but to be honest she was just talking over me and not letting me speak so I just left it at that and ended the call. I was too distressed to argue. I just wanted some support.

More recently - Having been in a panicked, uncontrollable, emotional and suicidal state my boyfriend drove me to Wexham Park Hospital at the beginning of January. On arrival (about 9am) I was in an extremely bad way and the nurses/doctors there were very nice, reassuring and very understanding and helpful. They could see I was in a state and offered me a private room immediately where I was able to calm down. As I explained my issues to the doctor she reassured me that they would be able to provide some temporary medication to help me sleep and possibly provide me with my regular antidepressants that I had run out of (and was struggling to get an appointment with my regular doctor). I finally saw two women at around 2pm who I believe were from the Crisis team. I'm absolutely appalled from their behaviour and can't understand why they have such an attitude towards their patients. I didn't catch their names, but one of them seemed to have an American accent. She was rude, abrupt and even starting question my boyfriend and his lifestyle. This appointment was for me not him.

Not only was I told off by them for coming to the hospital for HELP, but they also told me that I should have gone to my doctor's surgery and that clearly my surgery is not providing the service they should. Doctor's surgery's are overwhelmed with patients and I find that my surgery does the best they can. The Crisis team however have a duty of care to support people with mental health issues, so why were they TRYING to turn me away? I was in a state of despair and didn't know what to do. Surely they have a duty of care to their patients. I left with no medication top up and no real advice or help apart from them telling me they will CALL me that day with a time for Saturday to see a psychologist. They were meant to contact my doctor in that meeting also but didn't. My state of mind was a mess so it wasn't until I left that I realised nothing had been resolved for me.

On the Saturday at midday I received a TEXT MESSAGE saying I have an appointment an hour later at Slough Hospital. It was a mad rush to arrange to get there and again I was in a state. After speaking to the psychologist, he ended it by confirming if I would be able to see him again in a week's time and that the Crisis team will contact me with an exact date and time. He said that I must make sure I answer the phone as he was told that in the past I haven't been answering. He was in fact talking about that particular weekend, so I explained to him what happened and he said I just need to communicate with them for making my next appointment with him.

I find that the Crisis team are very quick to dismiss you, discharge you from their care and even try to get you to get help/support else where. They are unable to communicate with anybody. My doctor is still waiting on notes from my appointment with the psychologist from last year and when I mentioned this on Friday to the two women I spoke to I was given excuses again. That it must be my doctor's fault. This baffles me. The Crisis team have a duty of care for mental health patients so why are they not providing the service they should be?

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Response from Elizabeth Daly, Head of Service Engagement and Experience, Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Dear ama3710

I am really sorry to hear about your experience with the Crisis Resolution/Home Treatment Team (CRHTT). I would be very grateful if you could contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) to discuss what has happened. We can then look into your specific case with the Service Manager and respond to you.

PALS Telephone: 0118 9605027

Email: bht@berkshire.nhs.uk

Alternatively, you could contact your local Healthwatch organisation for assistance. Contact details for Healthwatch can be found on our website: www.berkshirehealthcare.nhs.uk

Many Thanks,

Liz Daly

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