"GP Appointment for mental health support"

About: General practices in Ayrshire & Arran

(as the patient),

Went to see the first GP I could at my new practice after moving regarding mental health issues. The GP was quite flippant, clearly was not listening to the fact that I felt like I was in crisis and needed further support. I was faced with being told just double the dose of your medication and when I asked about other support I was told to persevere with the group CBT I was attending, which I clearly said made me feel worse and increased my anxiety, and I felt it was not the best fit for me at this time. I was then told you'll probably just get the same here and the waiting list was months. I felt as if I wasn't listened to, my views on my on mental health weren't taken on board and despite being upset and quite clearly saying I needed further support but did not know what this was and was looking for help kept being told I was looking for a "quick fix" despite me saying I was aware there was no quick fix.

I feel that knowledge of self harm and support for self management could be improved.

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Responses

Response from Eunice Goodwin, Patient Feedback Manager for NHS Ayrshire and Arran, Quality Improvement and Governance Team, NHS Ayrshire and Arran

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Dear tsuohe,

Firstly, may I say I am sorry you have had a difficult time and secondly that you feel we have not helped you cope when you needed it.

I can and will pass this to the Primary Care team for their reflection but I also wonder if it would be helpful to seek advice from another GP in the practice. They may have been right in what they said but you clearly did not feel they were empathetic and that is a shame too.

I could also possibly clarify a bit more about what the options are if you want to contact me with some details such as your CHI number and name. I can be contacted by email, eunice.goodwin@aapct.scot.nhs.uk or by phone on 01563 826222.

I do hope you are feeling a bit better now.

Best wishes,

Eunice
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Update posted by tsuohe (the patient)

Eunice,

Many thanks for your response, I do intend to get in touch with you directly.

I absolutely agree that some of the things that the GP said were possibly correct, however they were delivered in a far from compassionate manner and had they been said in a different way, would have been completely different. I did however come away from that appointment feeling as if I was treated as if I had no understanding of my own health needs, felt i had been patronised and had not been listened to, when describing clearly that I felt like I was hitting crisis point with my mental health, and some of the issues I mentioned (which I know should not have been) were ignored. My referral to the Primary Care Mental Health Team has now come through (although it took 3 weeks), and I'm now on a waiting list of approximately 24 weeks for my choice of support (because there didn't seem to be an option of a combination of support, or the opportunity to discuss with someone what support might be most suitable) - so in total, for someone who feels they are going downhill and struggling more each day with their mental health I am going to have to potentially wait for over 6 months for support from the NHS for my mental health - certainly not a quick fix!

I have an appointment scheduled with another GP in the practice this week, however following the last appointment, I now feel that I need to take my husband with me to ensure that I am listened to, not confidence building for someone who feels they were quite articulate in the last appointment.

Response from Eunice Goodwin, Patient Feedback Manager for NHS Ayrshire and Arran, Quality Improvement and Governance Team, NHS Ayrshire and Arran

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Dear tsuohe,

Thank you so much for being in contact both on and off line. After our long chat about your situation, and as you know, I have a wee list of things we thought may be helpful. I am down to the last one and I will feedback to you any updates.

Best wishes,

Eunice

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Response from Eunice Goodwin, Patient Feedback Manager for NHS Ayrshire and Arran, Quality Improvement and Governance Team, NHS Ayrshire and Arran We are preparing to make a change

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Dear Tsuohe,

You will by now have received a call from S McCulloch, Primary Care Mental Health Team Leader. She intended to outline other options and explain a bit more about your specific circumstances. It is good news though, there is more help available and more quickly too. It seems that if your referral had different, relevant information, your referral would have gone to another part of the MH service. Serena will explain it all to you in her call.

Developing the service

There is a small working party at the moment looking at how the local mental health teams continue to improve their liaison with GPs as well as making improvements to the referral pathways and this should help clarify who they should refer to and under what circumstances. This guidance should help GPs to refer to the most appropriate part of the service for your needs and will hopefully help prevent this happening again.

There are also a number of initiatives underway supported by the new East Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership (see link https://www.east-ayrshire.gov.uk/Resources/PDF/H/East-Ayrshire-HSCP-Strategic-Plan-Summary.pdf ) to ensure we have more joined up approaches to delivering health and social care. One example of this which you might find interesting is the commitment to improve the level of mental health support available within primary care settings. This will mean for some people that they will be able to receive the right kind of mental health support within their own GP Practice reducing the need for referral onto separate mental health teams. I hope this is helpful and I think it demonstrates we are indeed very interested to improve our service.

I am sure you will now get the support where, when and how you consider is most appropriate.

Good luck and best wishes,

Eunice

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