"The Staff Should Be Ashamed, Like They Made Me..."

I entered voluntarily for 4 weeks and I was disappointed and scared of some patients and some staff that I self-discharged 'against their best wishes'. The staff were inept and rude to me and other patients and sometimes each other. My depression was left to be cured by sitting around all day. I received no treatment other than removing most medications I was currently on, that had helped me for years. My 'if required' anxiety medications were almost always refused to me because I 'didn't look anxious enough'. Sometimes I needed the medications simply because other patients were so aggressive that I feared for my safety and the safety of the staff. I ended up having extreme panic attacks that most often were untreated and resulted in myself having hyperventilation problems at which point I would sometimes receive my medication. The staff talked to me as if I were a naughty child and not as the adult I am. I felt blamed for my problems as if I had brought it upon myself. I was left to sit without help for the majority of my days, simply waiting for the chance to go for a walk... or for one of the OT's to arrive so that we could possibly have an activity to do. The morning activity meetings were always late and we frankly a waste of my time, when I could have been out having a milkshake or going for a walk with my fellow patients: If this was allowed. (May I remind you I was an 'informal patient' not held under the mental health act). I was shamed for my problems and blamed for the reasons I was there, which actually is wrong because I was there due to depression and PTSD because of a family members sudden death from illness. The palaver of simply getting out to go to the shop situated within 1 mile at most was daunting and exhausting. Should other informal patients with to go out for an activity with one-another there was be almost a fever pitch level of panic among staff due to mixed genders. This was due to sexuality assumptions of my own gender, which were wrong. This kind of sexist assumptions does not belong inside a clinic that is supposed to be all sexuality/gender encompassing and I found this degrading and highly shaming that my sexuality was presumed to be hetero-sexual. I found the same-sex accommodation rule to be completely pointless as two patients were placed in opposite genders accommodation. Which made other patients and myself very uncomfortable. Also one opposite-sex staff member frequently flirted and acted inappropriately in a sexual manner towards the patients of my sex and then after some time had progressed, acted in this manner towards me. This lead to me and others fearing to be alone with that staff member and the opposite sex patients frequently were. The only positive I can just about muster is that this clinic is quite clean, although its very hard to get into the laundry room to wash your clothes... sometime opposite genders washed their clothes in the wrong laundry room. Overall my rating is 0 *'s.

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from St Andrews

Hi there and thank you for your feedback to NHS Choices. I am sorry to hear that you feel your experience at St Andrews was a negative one. If you would like us to investigate this further for you, please contact us on 01278 432022 or via email on pals@sompar.nhs.uk. I will forward your concerns to the Manager of St Andrews in the meantime. Very best wishes, Jenny from the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS).

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