"Common Sense Prevails! "

About: Hollins Park North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

(as the patient),

I have been treated for depression over the past few years on and off by 5BP and in Jan 2010, I ended up on the Sheridan Ward in crisis. During this time I raised the issue that I found a lack of continuity of care a real problem in the NHS. I didn't like how I felt that I never got anywhere with the CMHT, because every time I saw a psychiatrist it was often someone different and they hadn't read my notes.

To address this, after discharge from hospital, it was agreed that I could continue to see the consultant as an outpatient at Hollins Park, rather than being passed back to the CMHT. This worked well and despite a rocky start (I was paranoid and distrustful at the time!), over the past two years I think we have developed a good therapeutic relationship and my condition has also improved a lot (thanks to the right meds at last!).

Things had been going really well - I was back at work and had increased my hours significantly and my mood was holding up well. At my last review in September we discussed discharge, especially as this outpatient arrangement had initially been considered temporary. I was fairly happy about this and hoped I wouldn't need to go back. I had been warned that if I did, I would need to be referred through the Access and Advice team and I'd be unlikely to see the same consultant again. I was concerned about this, but resigned to it, thankful that at least the good arrangement had lasted long enough to get me well.

Unfortunately winter has taken its toll and my mood has been suffering. After discussion with my GP he agreed I should be referred back through A&A. I feared that I would have to see someone new and go over everything again. Thankfully, when they saw my referral and recognised that I had been seeing a consultant until fairly recently, common sense prevailed and instead of having to wait a few weeks to see one of the nurses, they could book me in with an appointment directly with the consultant within a week. Very impressive! I could not have asked for more.

The contrast from the last time I was referred to the CMHT (2009) is amazing. Back then I waited 4-5 months to see a psychiatrist, who hadn't read my notes, spoke to my social worker (not me!) for about 5 minutes, didn't make any changes and then said they'd see me in 3 months - despite the fact I was very unwell at the time and desperate for something to change.

I had a lot of bad things to say about 5BP from my initial experiences, but I have to say I have seen real improvement since my first contact with the trust in 2008. Maybe that is just me getting better in the past 18mths or so, but I think it's more than that. This consultant has made a real difference and I have been happy with my care of late. I just hope that it will continue.

Please keep this up. This is what patient-centred care should be about. Common sense leading decisions, not procedure, process and red tape. If something is working, don't change it and keep up continuity of care wherever possible.

p.s. I told my consultant today that I was impressed and was told to write about it, so here I am! I wouldn't bother if I didn't think this deserved to be recognised.

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Response from Katherine Earlam, PALS Officer, 5 Boroughs Partnership NHS Trust

I would like to thank you for taking the time to share your recent positive experience of our services. It is very much appreciated and I will ensure that those members of staff concerned are made aware of your comments.

I am sorry that you have not always had a positive experience of our community services and can assure you that I will feed back your comments to the Community Mental Health Team.

We always welcome any form of feed back; positive or negative and we can learn lessons and make improvements to our services based on the information that you have provided.

If you would like to discuss any of your concerns in more detail; please contact me to arrange a meeting at you convenience.


Adrianne Roberts, Matron

01925 664455

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