"Community mental health services"

About: Devon Partnership NHS Trust / Adult mental health

(as the patient),

I have been in contact with local community mental health teams for over a decade, due to long standing clinical depression. I was originally referred because I repeatedly self-harmed (I kept taking overdoses of various drugs), but the support gradually evolved into helping me manage my Asperger's syndrome, as well as my purely mental health issues (Asperger's syndrome is not, in itself, a mental illness).

Until the last two or three years, I have generally been fairly satisfied with the support I have received, with weekly to fortnightly visits from a support worker and/or social worker.

However, since at least the 2010 general election, the quality of support I am receiving has rapidly deteriorated, to the point that I am seeing a support worker once every 6 months, if lucky. I continue to see a social worker approximately once a month, but this is totally inadequate for my needs and her job isn't supposed to be that of a support worker anyway, but that of a "care co-ordinator" - that is a rather meaningless concept at the moment, because I am not receiving any care capable of being co-ordinated!

One reason why the support I am currently receiving is so poor is that my support worker is on long term sick leave. Obviously, I recognised that she is perfectly entitled to take this leave if she needs it, so I don't blame her personally, but the NHS trust keeps claiming they can't afford to pay for any temporary cover for her whilst she is off sick. I find that attitude quite disgraceful - they are effectively getting away with not providing the service they are contracted to do.

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Response from Devon Partnership NHS Trust


We are very sorry to hear that you are unhappy with the service that you have received from us. We would like to look into your concerns but we need some further information before we can do this. Please contact our PALS Team on 0800 0730741 or dpn-tr.pals@nhs.net and we will do all we can to help. Thank you.

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