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"Mental health referral"

About: Bromley Healthcare / Talk together Bromley (IAPT)

(as a service user),

I was referred to talk together Bromley in March 2018 due to issues with anxiety and depression. I had been dealing with these issues for a number of years and been through a number of medications which I was keen to avoid. I'd also been through an online only CBT course when I lived in a different area which I did not find helpful at the time. This was due to something that I think a lot of people with these issues deal with, a strong desire to deny you are ill and the negative impact of anything you can find that supports this opinion. In my experience the online CBT gave me the feeling of being dismissed (I know this is not what was actually happening, but it gave me the excuse to feel it).

Talk together Bromley offered me online CBT and I declined, due to my previous problems with accepting it. I was put on a waiting list for face to face CBT sessions. I did not hear anything until the end of January 2019. 

During that time I was able to pull together enough money to seek counselling privately and so when I was contacted I declined the offer from Talk Together Bromley.

Now I know none of this is the fault of the undoubtedly hard working and committed people at talk together Bromley but I found this delay greatly disturbing. During the intervening period I had suffered through severe periods of depression and suicidal urges. It had taken a lot to persuade me to seek help in the first place and the lack of contact and delay in support once again reinforced the dismissal issue. 

The reason it disturbed me is that there are a great deal of people who were going through the exact same issues that I did and do not have the financial means to seek private counselling. 

This service (as with many other services across the NHS and the rest of the public sector) is clearly greatly under resourced. Had I continued to deteriorate as I did and followed through with some of the thoughts I'd had not only could the consequences have been dire for me but also had the significant potential to place further strain on the NHS. It is a false economy and people out there are suffering, self medicating (causing a multitude of health issues) and harming themselves because there is not a sufficient service to really help them. Not one experience I have had with NHS treatment over mental illness has been a positive one. 

Responses

Response from Julie Miller, Patient Experience Lead, Bromley Healthcare

Dear G Khan

Thank you for taking the time to post this feedback.

We welcome comments from patients, family members and carers and use the learning as an opportunity to review and improve our services.

I will ensure that you comments are drawn to the attention of both the Service Lead and her Manager and they will respond in due course.

If you would like to contact me on my email Julie.miller5@nhs.net and leave your name you are most welcome and this would enable the service Lead to review more specifically the issues relating to your own experience.

Thank you once again


Yours sincerely

Julie

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Response from Julie Miller, Patient Experience Lead, Bromley Healthcare We have made a change

Dear G Khan,

Thank you for taking the time to comment about Talk Together Bromley and your experience of NHS Mental Health Services to date. It is disappointing to read these comments and we would be happy to discuss with you the challenges you faced trying to enter the services at Talk Together Bromley. If you could email the service directly at

BROMH.BromleyIAPT@nhs.net

providing contact details we would be pleased to discuss these issues with you personally.

We recognise at Talk Together Bromley that some of our waiting times for some modalities of treatment have been longer than we would hope.

I'm pleased to advise these are now reducing as we recently introduced new treatment options including an expanded counselling service and a new CBT service. This increase in options available to patients has reduced waiting times for other treatments and in particular face to face CBT. We aim to provide the most appropriate treatment to each patient in a timely manner and we are working closely with our commissioners and NHS England to ensure the resources are available to achieve this. If in the future you need to access our service for support I hope we will be able to provide treatment in a more timely manner.

Adam Royall

General Manager of Adult Specialised Services Bromley Healthcare

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