"Four months (and counting) wait for short term assessment and recovery team (mental health)"

About: Barnet, Enfield And Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust Barnet, Enfield And Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust / Adult mental health

(as the patient),

I was referred by my GP to the Short Term Assessment and recovery Team at St Ann's mental health services in late September 2009 due to depression and anxiety and the fact that my privately paid for therapist believes that I may be bipolar II. Four months later, I'm still waiting. My GP has followed up twice and so have I, being told that they will call me back, but haven't done so. It's a good job I'm not suicidal. Having said that, my mental (and physical) health is getting worse. I could go to the walk-in, but I feel so depressed I can hardly leave the house or even get out of bed some days. I'm currently off work with physical health problem possibly brought on by feeling exhausted, run-down and depressed. Maybe I have to go completely crazy before anyone will help me?

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Response from Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust

We are sorry that your appointment has been delayed. Our START service has been experiencing high numbers of referrals in recent months and is working hard to reduce response times to referrers and service users.

We will integrate START and the 24/7 Emergency Reception Centre (ERC) from March. By June 2010 START will offer first appointments within five working days from receipt of referral. In the meantime, service users who require a more immediate assessment of their mental health needs can continue to self-refer directly to the 24/7 ERC at St Ann’s Hospital, where an appointment is not necessary.

Patient Opinion is an anonymised service. If you would like us to look into your case, please contact the Trust PALS service who will be available to look into your concerns.

PALS tel: 020 8442 5427

PALS email: PALS@beh-mht.nhs.uk

Opening hours: 9.00am to 5.00pm, Monday to Friday

To find out more about how PALS can help, please visit our website: www.beh-mht.nhs.uk/pals.

Response from Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust

Please note that since we made our original response, the PALS telephone number has changed to 020 8937 7926.