"family member with recurrent psychosis"

About: Avon And Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust

Communication with the healthcare professionals is extremely difficult. Information has to pursued doggedly and prised out of people. I do not mean, the restaints on information sharing that are necessary because of patient confidentiality - just ordinary everyday information on arrangements for follow-up. Messages are not passed on, nor calls returned. It is quite normal to have to spend all day waiting in for a promised call-back, to then discover that the person you spoke to has decided to pass the job on to be done next week, During every period when my son has been showing signs of extreme stress, which I know usually preceed an 'episode' of psychosis, the support from the system has been abysmal. My son was chained to the bed in BRI for 3 days and nights awaiting a decision to section him. He was finally sent to Salisbury, where a slack Dr dismissed his problems as drug-taking and he has lurched through life since. He relapsed quite quickly was locked up in Southmead, diagnosed with schizophrenia. He was told a place would be available in a half-way hostel , and that did not not materialise for months during which time he was allowed to stay with his father - very strained relationship.

We have been turned away from A&E and told to 'go to the G.P. in the morning ' (this finallly ended in another long spell locked up in hospital, when a sleeping pill for one night could have calmed things long enough to do just that.), the so-called Crisis team failed to come out on the two occasions we really needed help, when warned he was very ill, and refused to come once the situation escalated, telling me in an off-hand way to call the Police. . The result of this failure was messy and painful, and mentally scarring , not to mention the physical damage to my son.

It should not be the Police's job, and most of them are clueless at dealing with distressed people.. My son has had broken ribs, a broken finger, his head stamped on, and sprayed full in the face from point blank range, while already in handcuffs.

There are many really excellent caring and skilled people working in the service,(the Sister in the new Assessment unit at Southmead is a gift from God) but the system is really unco-ordinated, very poor at communication, and dodges responsibility. He now has Community health support, but not until after being branded a criminal for- 'obstructing the Police' and an alleged and unwitnessed "assault" on an Officer.

Is it all down to poor funding? (He has post-traumatic stress to add to his other problemsI)

I think the attitudes of many staff, from ward nurses to telephone receptionists, need looking at.

The biggest resource can be the family, and it costs nothing, so why not involve them unless there is an actual reason not to?

The box below asks when I 'visited the Trust' but we have been involved for some years now.

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Response from Avon And Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust

We are sorry to hear of your concerns. The Patient Advice & Liaison Service (PALS) is a free, confidential and impartial service available to everyone who uses the Trust's mental health services, their families, carers or anyone who needs advice, information, support or guidance with a particular issue.

PALS can help if...

You are worried and not sure what to do or where to go

You need clarity about a situation

You want someone to listen to your experience of services

You need information and help.

PALS can help by providing the opportunity to discuss in confidence any concerns or comments you may have about the care you or someone you care for is receiving. PALS will guide you through the different services available in the Trust. We can also tell you about other mental health services in the NHS or other independent organisations.

Telephone: 01249 468261

Freephone: 0800 073 1778

Fax: 01249 468266

Email: awp.pals@nhs.net