"Does anyone really care?"

About: Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust / Adult mental health

(as the patient),

I have mental health problems.I have had them on and off all my life. I have never felt helped by any of the specialists or treatments that I have received and have found my own ways of managing my illness. I have only been able to do this because my husband is always there to support me.

The nature of my illness means that I have times of crisis when I am out of control and in a very distressed state. This happened back in the autumn. By mutual consent I agreed to be discharged by my most recent specialist about 18 months before. This was on the basis that if I needed help I could go directly back to her. When I tried to do this I was told that although it said that in my discharge letter that it did not apply anymore and I would have to go back to my GP and be re referred. This is what I did - I had the appointment last week - about 3 months too late. I was not in crisis anymore but I went anyway. I discussed with the doctor what I(or my husband) should do in a future crisis and was given a card with an out of hours number on it and told that either to ring the centre where I go for consultations or the out of hours number. later I realised that the out of hours number was for PALS - I have no idea if they could connect me to a crisis team.

Well I do not know if it was talking in detail about my condition and how it manifests itself but the wound opened back up I suppose. The next day something happened that triggered a crisis I could not back on top and over Saturday/Sunday I was delusional and at risk. All of this exhausts me and then I plummet back down the other way. It is very damaging obviously to me but also to my husband and youngest daughter who lives at home still.

I tried to contact my centre to make an appointment - this took a lot of effort - and was given an appointment for 3 days later to see a different doctor. This is even with supposedly being on some kind of fast track system for an appointment. I arrived in good time for my appointment. It was chaotic in the reception waiting area with a lot of the space being used to fit a new water machine and all the other new ones for other parts of the building were stacked up. As I have become used to, there was the same unwelcoming response from reception as well as witnessing other users being treated with what I would consider to be disregard. There was a constant stream of 'staff' going back and forth, talking loudly and messing around.

When it was 20 minutes past my appointment time I went to ask the receptionist if there was a problem. She said that I was next. By then I had started to become agitated. After waiting another 15 minutes my husband went to speak to reception - he spoke to another woman who seemed to be a manager. She told him that the wait was unavoidable and we have to expect to have to wait sometimes but she was unable to give any estimate of how much longer I would have to wait. By now I was really quite distressed and after another 10 minutes I felt I could wait no longer. So after telling them that I had to go we came home.

I feel very let down and have no confidence or trust left now.

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Response from Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for contacting our Trust via Patient Opinion. If you feel you have had a bad service from our Trust, then that obviously needs to be looked into. Can I suggest that in the first instance you contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Tam (PALS) on 0800 953 0045. They will able to discuss your concerns with you and then signpost you on how to make a formal complaint if necessary.