"Deterioration of services from my local Community Mental Health Team"

About: South West London And St George's Mental Health NHS Trust / Adult mental health

(as the patient),

I am an outpatient with a community mental health team in the borough of Wandsworth (Tooting, Balham and Furzedown CMHT). I have a mental health condition called schizoaffective disorder, for which I take a depot injection every two weeks, as well as other medication.

I have been dismayed and disappointed recently with the way that the services that the CMHT provide have deteriorated. Speaking with the staff, they are constantly complaining about the tremendous pressure they are under due to staff shortages and cuts. Excellent members of staff are leaving the team because the pressure is too much. Pretty much every member of staff that I see complains to me about this situation.

I'm am worried that the quality of care I receive is deteriorating. It's almost impossible to have a proper conversation with my care coordinator because he is always so busy. Also, I used to have my injection in my flat, but increasingly I am being urged to travel to the hospital to get my injection because there is no one available to travel to my flat. This is an added stress for me.

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Response from Jane Healey, Patient Experience Lead, Governance, South West London and St George's Mental Health Trust

Dear Anonymous male,

My name is Jane and I am one of the Patient Experience Leads for the Trust. Many thanks for taking the time to share your experience of our services and I am sorry to hear that you feel there has been a deterioration in the service you are receiving from the Balham, Tooting and Furzedown CMHT.

I have passed your concerns onto the Team Manager, Consultant Psychiatrist and Operational Manager for the service and they are all dismayed to hear of your negative experiences. The CMHT is now planning a team away day within the next 4 weeks and will be using this to map the 'journey' of a typical patient through the team in order to identify areas where the service can be improved. Patient representatives are also to be invited to this and they will be asked to provide comments and observations as to how they feel the service could be improved.

The Team Manager will also be discussing the concerns you have raised with staff in the next team meeting so they can address the issues approriately.

If you would like to discuss your concerns in more detail, or would like to raise this as a formal complaint then please contact the Trust Patient Experience Team on 0203 513 6150 or by email to Complaintsmanager@swlstg-tr.nhs.uk.

Once again, many thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts.

Kind regards


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Update posted by Anonymous male (the patient)

Dear Jane,

Many thanks for your thoughtful response. I'm grateful that you are taking these concerns seriously and discussing them with the appropriate people at the CMHT. I don't feel I need to make a complaint as I know my care coordinator, my psychiatrist, and others in the team are doing their best to cope with the pressure they are under.

My main hope is that the staff I interact with regularly will be well supported by their managers and by the government moving forward. I believe that it's important that staff feel comfortable in their jobs, and that their own mental health is taken seriously so that they can feel happy and fulfilled in their roles. I know that agency staff have been employed within the CMHT recently and I think it's a shame that there is a need for this. It's important that NHS staff enjoy a good quality of work life so the team has a good reputation and can attract high quality candidates who might otherwise be lost to the agencies or worse still change their career paths.

Many thanks for the work you are doing to improve patient experience, and I wish you every success with your team away day.

Kind regards,

Anonymous male