"Appalling treatment at Kings College Hospital"

About: King's College Hospital (Denmark Hill) / Accident and emergency Liaison psychiatry (Southwark)

(as a carer),

Last night someone I’m caring for who has mental health issues was brought into Kings by ambulance in a state of extreme distress. I arrived shortly after in a taxi. When I arrived he had disappeared from the major treatment area. They had wandered off I feel in psychotic state.

In my view none of the staff cared or were in the slightest bit interested. I expressed serious concerns for their welfare, and the staff were incredibly dismissive.

Another carer and I then started searching the labyrinth of corridors at Kings. About 30 minutes later they were found wandering a corridor agitated and distressed. We came outside to chat and cool down as it was so hot last night.

After chatting for a while we all decided that hospital was not the best place and we flagged a taxi on the street. Just as we were getting into the taxi a nurse came out on the street and demanded we stay. We stayed to talk to the nurse and let the taxi leave. The nurse asked us to return inside, and we said we felt it was best for my friend’s mental health to return home.

They then started saying that they had a legal right to detain my friend. I asked under what law, as I believe the Mental Health Act did not apply. In a manner that appeared to me like a barrack room lawyer they said they had a right under common law to detain my friend, which I feel is clearly nonsense.

We had spent a lot of time calming my friend down, the nurse's behaviour, appeared to me to be nasty and aggressive. Claiming over and over that they had a right to detail my friend under common law.

We explained my friend had the right to discharge themselves and go home. In my opinion the nurse clearly thought that because my friend had a mental illness they could bullied into staying, although I suspect they were more interested in covering their own backside than caring for my friend.

Eventually we caught another taxi, while the nurse threatened to call the police. The incident was extremely distressing for my friend.

There are a lot of things A&E could do better to treat people with mental health issues. But that’s a whole other story.

In my view that a nurse at a major London hospital thought it appropriate to play the barrack room lawyer on a street outside a hospital just to cover themselves is beyond belief. their behaviour was unseemly and unprofessional and a disgrace to the nursing profession.

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Response from Su Glazier, Head of Improvement, Innovations and Involvement, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

Dear MJL_se1,

Thank you for taking the time to post your concern about a mental health issue in Kings College Hospital A&E. We are extremely sorry to hear that you and your friend had such a distressing time and we are trying to look into this. It would be very helpful if we could discuss this with you in more detail. You can contact me on slam.nhs.uk" title="Send email to su.glazier@slam.nhs.uk">su.glazier@slam.nhs.uk or ring me on 0203 228 1669 or contact Complaints @slam.nhs.uk or on 0203 228 2444/2499.

Best wishes,

  • {{helpful}} {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} this response is helpful