"I felt chastised for trying to seek help on my friend's behalf"

About: Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust / Crisis resolution

(as a carer),

Dear All,

Further to my posting last week I am writing to advise that maybe things aren't so rosey.

My friend is deep in psychosis and is extremely, extremely ill. Through the mist of tears and sobbing she asked me ring her crisis line on her behalf again. She is currently incapable of standing up for herself and requires constant support.

I spoke to the 'professional' on the other end of the line who more or less chastised me for making the call, and told me I should not be ringing on someone's behalf. I explained that she currently lacked the capacity but was still made to feel like an annoying pest.

The worker concerned then telephoned my friend to advise her that as she was under the care of day hospital services, and they had not referred her to crisis (despite my friends assurances that she had) she could not access these services.

So...my friend struggled throughout the night, has a day hospital referral, which apparently effectively bars her from access to night time services. How much sense does that make?

In addition, I would like to say that whoever it was I spoke to tonight, my impression was that they were uninterested in speaking to people regarding mental health issues and I cannot understand why they have chosen to do this line of work which could be so vital to helping people at their time of need.

I know this won't be published as anything containing criticism or upset, is usually highly edited or ignored.

I welcome the opportunity to speak to any senior member of the Leeds Trust, and would be happy to express my opinions more lucidly and appropriately than a simple message can express.

In my opinion the care she is receiving is severely lacking. Her health, both physical and mental is rapidly deteriorating and she is being barred from services by regulations I cannot understand.

Please take this as a sincere plea for help on behalf of my friend.

Yours Sincerely

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Response from Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust We are preparing to make a change

Dear Cameron,

Though your report is much less positive than the last I would still like to thank you for taking the time to communicate your experience.

Our careline is a 24 hour / 7 day a week facility that allows service users and their family / carers to contact our mental health professionals when needed during acute episodes of care (such as attending our Acute Community Services as your friend was). We see it as an important part of our service and understand that it is highly valued by service users and their families / friends.

It is therefore particularly concerning that you experienced an unsatisfactory response. We are looking into the events at the present time with an expectation that any difficulties will be resolved. At present we are developing a “single point of access” service so that service users and their families / carers can be confident that they receive the same high standard of service whenever they contact us.

From your communications it is evident that you are aware of some of the complexities and the very individual nature of providing effective care for people with mental health problems. While not wanting to excuse unacceptable responses within our service, I wonder if I could take you up on your offer to meet with a view to better understanding yours and your friend’s frustrations. I could also outline some of the initiatives we are currently pursuing to improve the care that we provide.

If you would be agreeable to meeting this would probably be best arranged through our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) who can be contacted on 0800 0525790 or at pals.lypft@nhs.net.

I am sorry that after having experienced very helpful interventions from our service, you are now frustrated and dissatisfied. However, I look forward to meeting with you (and perhaps your friend) in the near future.

Yours sincerely,

Guy Brookes

Associate Medical Director for Adult Mental Health Services

Leeds and York Partnerships NHS Foundation Trust.

Update posted by Cameron (a carer)

Dear Guy,

Thank you for you response - I will contact PALs on Monday with a view to meeting.

Yours faithfully