"More confused after treatment than before"

About: Chorley & South Ribble Hospital / Accident and emergency Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust / Adult mental health North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust

(as the patient),

I was diagnosed as severely depressed with anxiety issues and insomnia in early June 2012.

I was immediately prescribed medication, 10mg daily, whilst given a questionnaire to fill out and hand to the receptionist before I started the treatment. After 2 weeks of this, I answered them exactly the same, as I felt no different.

I did not have any side-effects except being extremely tired, even more than normal considering I have Insomnia. I was on this medication until June.

Early one morning in June, I had been awake all night at my boyfriend’s house. He stayed up with me right through the night as he understood I was struggling to sleep and was in a very low state of mind. Once he had fallen asleep, I got worse. I laid there for an hour crying, telling myself that everything was over, I couldn't release myself from that state.

I got out of bed and sat on the floor, and that is all I physically remember doing. Next second, I was looking down on myself - like an out of body experience is the only way I can describe it, I couldn't control what I was doing. I watched myself light a cigarette then reach for my medication. Next second, I am eating them like sweets. 10 minutes later, I was 'back in my body' and 'in control'. The first thing I did is slap myself, to see if I was dreaming or not. I wasn't. I burst into tears and woke my boyfriend and told him what had happened. I then rang for an ambulance, luckily, the ambulance station is very nearby, so they arrived within seconds.

I was taken to Chorley General Hospital's A&E. I was taken into a cubicle and instantly given Charcoal to drink. I drank as much as I could, being sick every gulp, but had to keep drinking it.

The nurses kept the curtain open, so everyone could see me in this state. I was shaking, hot, dizzy, just really unwell and to top it off, being sick. Next thing I hear are nurses shouting across the room to each other saying that I’d taken an overdose and shouting about the charcoal they’d given to me. The domestics even knew about it. I felt my dignity was stripped away from me.

I was then left alone, still with the curtain open, until the 4 hour turn over. So now it was mid morning. I was not well enough to be sent to the Psych ward as planned, as I had to be medically fit.

I was moved to M.A.U (Medical Assessment Unit). I was left in a chair from mid morning until mid afternoon when the doctor's did their rounds. I hadn't slept all night and when the doctor finally came he took one look at me and told me to wait for the psychiatrist. The psychiatrist turned up an hour later. I was assessed for 10 minutes then told to get some rest. I went back to the chair as I had no bed, and waited until the consultant came round. It was early evening by this time. The consultant was lovely, I have nothing bad to say. They discharged me and told me to follow up with my GP.

I am disappointed about the lack of dignity, empathy and confidentiality I received. I mean, not everyone in A&E should know what I was in for, especially not the domestics. I wasn't even given a bed, and I was told to try and sleep until the consultant came and saw me, but they made me sit in a hard, uncomfortable chair, so I couldn't sleep at all. (There were plenty of empty beds). Having to wait that long just to be told to sleep and then discharged and follow-up with my GP – surely there should be a better system?

I came home more confused than ever. The psych told me firstly that my GP put me on the wrong dose of medication, which caused my mental state to get so low. Secondly, they offered me sleeping pills and some psych therapy but I never received information about either?

I felt a lack of support from the NHS. Due to this, I have refused any treatment and have not gone to my GP since.

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Response from Steven Edwards, Manager, Strategic Planning, Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust

Many thanks for your posting about your recent experience at the Accident &Emergency (A&E) Department at Chorley General Hospital. The issues you raise around your treatment and care are very distressing and we would like to work with you to find a way to address these.

I am pleased to hear that the support and advice you received from the Mental Health consultant at Chorley Hospital helped you in what was clearly a very distressing situation. Regarding your overall experience as a mental health patient, Lancashire Care is looking at how to improve the experience of patients attending A&E units across Lancashire.

So we can learn from your experience and help improve the way we support patients attending A&E, I would be keen to talk to you further about what happened at Chorley. We could also look at how the Trust can support you following this latest incident. The best way to reach me is via my email at steven.edwards@lancashirecare.nhs.uk

In terms of your on-going care I was concerned to read that you have refused any treatment and not gone to your GP. I would encourage you to contact a medical professional immediately, as this could have serious consequences for your health and well-being. Lancashire Care has a Mental Health Helpline which will be able to advise you on this. It is a Freephone service and can be reached on 0500 639 000. For more details see the Helpline website at http://www.lancs-mentalhealthhelpline.nhs.uk/

Regarding what happened in A&E at Chorley General Hospital and the treatment from the A&E staff, this is managed by Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. I would recommend that you discuss this with the Trust’s Patient Advice and Liaison Service on 01257 247280.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Best wishes,

Steven Edwards

Service User and Carer Experience Lead

Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust

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Response from Chorley & South Ribble Hospital

Thank you for providing feedback about the care and treatment we provide. Your comments have been noted and will be reviewed to identify opportunities for improvement and any actions that may be necessary. If you would like to provide further details, or would like a personal response, please email customer.care@lthtr.nhs.uk, or you can speak with our PALS team on 01772 522972.

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