"First point of contact could have been better"

About: Avenue House / Recovery Team (East)

(as the patient),

My psychiatrist is amazing and understanding. I have never had any issues with her at all. She listens and she supports you through your appointments. She sign posts you to the right person when required so you get the support you need. Cannot fault my psychiatrist at all. But the experience I had this week from the reception was very disappointing and quite stressing, because yes I have a mental health disease, but that does not mean I'm not a person, that I have morals, ethics and also a very intelligent person, that it's ok to label and treat us just as a person with mental health issues. We are more than that.

This aspect of mental health staff really need to change their aspect of someone. We are human, we are someone. We have a disease, its not who we are.

My appointment was  a replacement of an appointment were I accidentally overslept and couldn't make the appt. I called and explained and sent an email asking for a new appointment. I received a call the day before my rearranged appointment to confirm I will be attending. I also have a compliment slip stating my appointment clearly. Upon arrival, said who I was and that I had an appointment today, to be told no. Reception asked for my name again and told them my name. The receptionist then went on to say that my appointment was the following week, to which I replied no it isn't and stated the call I received and the compliment slip with the date on it. The person at reception kept repeating the  appointment date. No I do not have an appointment for that day, it is for today.  The receptionist was getting frustrated with me for no reason and then said well two appointments had been made for me and the person who dealt with it did not realise I already had an appointment for that day. A mistake had been made and it is not my fault at all, and its an error on the trust part. Ok. So why was this not explained this upon my arrival? Why did I have to go through unnecessary distress? ? ? ? Or to the point of making feel that I am mad and I have made the mistake. I was to sit down and will find out what is going to happen as the appointment have been doubled book and may have to wait. What is so important about my experience is first point of contact could of been handled better.

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Response from Melissa Bullen, Sector Manager, West London Mental Health NHS Trust We have made a change

Firstly, thank you for taking time to write your story and thank you for the positive feedback you have given about your psychiatrist. I am sorry that your experience with the reception staff has been a negative one for you. Unfortunately due to sickness and staff shortages we have had a number of locum admin staff on reception. We are trying to recruit permanent staff.

I have spoken with my Admin Team Leader and fed back your concerns and this will be addressed in the admin meeting and with the individual. We will reinforce the need to treat everyone with respect and to improve the way this was handled. It does sound from your story that this was not handled well. I have also asked my ATL to look at the training needs of the admin staff as a whole and this will include training in customer care to improve the way they deal with these situations in the future.

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