"Crisis Team - a total shambles"

About: North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

(as the patient),

I am very disappointed by the care provided to me by the Crisis Team. My first appointment was on 3rd March 2010, the day after I had presented to Vista Rd with strong suicidal urges. They turned up 10 mins late, and the lady who did most of the talking sat throughout with arms and legs crossed, and hardly a smile crossed her lips. How am I expected to open up to someone displaying such uninviting body language?

My next appointment was the following day at 1pm. At 1.25pm no one had arrived and no-one had telephoned me. So I telephoned, and I was told that they had been called out to an emergency. Fine. But couldn't they have telephoned me to tell me they would be late?

The lady who eventually turned up was not the same person I'd seen the day before; she was pleasant and friendly but several times while I was talking about my traumatic life experiences I caught her looking elsewhere! She was reading the labels on my craft boxes, looking at the pictures on the walls and the clock, obviously not paying any attention to my distress or to what I was saying.

My next visit was scheduled for 3 days later between 2 and 3pm. At 1.25pm I received a phone call from a counsellor saying that she had called at my home at 11am but there was no answer. She asked me how I was feeling, I told her I was the same, and she said she would pop round later. Completely frustrated, I cancelled. She didn't insist. She mentioned that I would have a visit the next day i.e. today. It is now 11.30 am and no one had phoned to tell me if and at what time someone is coming.

It feels to me the entire thing has been a shambles. It has left me feeling frustrated, annoyed, let down and even less supported than I was before they intervened in the first place.

As professionals, you should realise that you are dealing with psychologically and emotionally unstable people, in my case, suicidal. Treating us like this in a crisis period can easily tip us over. Then what? News reports and inquiries about the incompetence of the mental health services in the same way we are currently hearing about Social Services and children? And in the same way, there will have been, by then, avoidable deaths. It seems like a complete and utter disgrace.

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Response from Sandra Embling

Thank you for taking the time to tell us about your concerns and your experience of our service. Your views are important and help us to continue to develop the care we provide.

I am sorry to hear that several planned appointments with you were delayed. I agree with you that in the event that an appointment is delayed because of an emergency, we would expect our staff to keep you informed by explaining the reason for the delay and at what time the appointment has been re-scheduled. As this did not happen in your case I will take this up with the team manager on your behalf to ensure this does not happen again.

With regard to your concerns about staff attitudes and behaviour, in order to investigate further and to identify any staff training issues, I would welcome the opportunity to discuss this with you. You may wish to contact me on 01744 646760 to arrange a meeting at your convenience. Alternatively, you may wish to contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)who can provide confidential advise and support to help you to sort out concerns you have about the care we provide.

The PALS Co-ordinator is Dennis Dewar and you can contact him on 01925 664450 or you may wish to write to him at:

Hollins Park House

Hollins Park

Hollins Lane



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