"Hammersmith and Fulham mental health unit"

About: Hammersmith & Fulham Mental Health Unit

(as the patient),

I have been a patient at this unit since the end of 2007. In that time I was not kept safe and was sexually and financially exploited by another patient on Lillie Ward, had my confidentiality broken by a Consultant Psychiatrist and was stripped for years of any dignity and respect.

I was consistently ignored by staff, was generally only given escorted when I nagged for it ( so I gave up nagging which meant I never received it) and was treated as a diagnosis rather then a UNIQUE human being.

I can honestly say, sadly, that the biggest place I have received the greatest stigma for my mental health was by staff inside the mental health system itself. My crisis plan says that if I get seriously mentally ill again and I am to be admitted to a 'safe' place it would be to Hammersmith and Fulham unit - but I have been so traumatised by my experiences I would rather die then be 'cared for' in that hospital ever again.

It stripped me and my life of anything that was beautiful. Because of the visiting times my friends couldn't see me, they was no nature, no trees or flowers, there was nothing to do and noone to talk to except other patients.

So it is the other patients I thank for their care and compassion that they gave when in my view staff were giving none.

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Response from Simba Kaseke, Inpatient Service Manager, West London Mental Health NHS Trust

Dear A Unique Individual,

I am really sorry to hear about your experiences during your admission in Hammersmith and Fulham Mental Health Unit. I totally agree with you that the least our patient should expect is to feel safe and cared for with compassion especially when there are going through a crisis.

We have made a number of changes in the Unit to ensure that we are providing the right care to our patients, we are currently in the process of making all of our wards single gender which would hopefully go some way in reducing the risk of sexual exploitation. At the moment two of our assessments wards are single gender and we are hoping that the two recovery wards will become single gender by the end of this year.

We are working closely with the H&F police to ensure that any incidents of sexual and financial exploitation are followed up accordingly. All of our staff have received safeguarding training (this is part of their mandatory training) and this has enhanced their skills and ability to detect and effectively deal with all forms of abuse and continually improving in involving patients and carers.

We have managed to recruit an OT and an Activity Coordinator for each ward and have tailored the activities provided on the wards to meet the patient's needs. Unfortunately due to resource issues we are unable to provide activities at all times but we have ensure that there are activities provided seven days a week and also activities out of hours.

We are conducting weekly community meetings and we also have monthly service user feedback meeting which are facilitated by MIND Service User Involvement Project and this has enabled us to listen to the concerns being raised by patients and carers but more importantly that we act to address these concerns.

Once again please accept my sincere apologies for the poor standard of care that you have received and can you rest assured that I have taken your concerns on board. We will continue to improve the service that we are proving and thank you so much for your feedback.

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