"Attempting to gain treatment for Mental Illness"

About: Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust

(as the patient),

As an attendee (out-patient) of the Mental Health Services within the district of Preston Lancashire I noticed a distinct pattern of treatment, my consultant would change every two or three visits, often with the new consultant using the statement: "What is wrong with you?" which made the whole treatment process seem ineffective at the base level as there was no progress recorded by the consultants, ie the consultants would not be knowledgeable of my current situation or progress level.

The appointments would also follow a certain trend. For an example: My last appointment was in March, I arrived 10 minutes early in preparation, I was left waiting for 30 minutes after my scheduled appointment with no notification as to why the time delay was occuring. At this time It became apparent that I would not be able to partake in the appointment AND make it to the bank to pay funds into the accounts as the branch counter would be closed by the time I would arrive. I notified the receptionist at West Strand House that I needed to leve and was informed that my consultant would be advised. Two months later and I have yet to receive a notification for a future appointment.

Also, the usual trend once within the appointment would follow an exact pattern during every visit. The first illness specific question would be: "How are you feeling?" to which the reply would generally be that I was still encountering thought disturbances, thought derailment and other disorders normally experienced whilst suffering from schizophrenia/psychosis.

The second question would normally be "Do you have thoughts to harm yourself or others?" which as a long term sufferer seems extraordinarily irrelevant as people, within the City I live in, are unmonitored whilst fighting, using threatening behaviour even using emotional torment and other anti-social activities without ever encountering the risk of being Sectioned under the Mental Health Act for being a risk to society. The other factor that makes this irrelevant is that my illness, I believe, is a response to a lifetime of bullying and abuse and is only affecting my mental state due to the fact that I was passive as I believed that I had no alternatives to avoid this kind of treatment from members of society and simply had to move past such occurances.

The third question would be "Are you eating ok?" to which my normal reply would be that I eat 1 - 2 times a day as eating any more would mean that I gained weight, however no further advice would normally be given.

The fourth question would normally be " Are you sleeping ok?" to this question my response would change based on the experience in between appointments, varying from: I'm barely sleeping, I wake up regularly from nightmares and I'm not sleeping at all. In most circumstances I would receive no further advice.

The fifth question would normally be "Are you still taking your medication?". After advising most consultants that the medication would often leave me in a state of near paralysis and would cause an inability to think independantly, therefore I would need to reduce the dosage of Amisulpride to 100Mg daily to avoid discomfort and alternative symptoms of malaise I would normally be advised to take the medication at the stated dose no matter what the side effects would do. This in reality is a Peter robbing Paul situation as I either have to tolerate thoughts of persecution or not be able to think at all.

Over the five and a half years which I have been trying to gain treatment for my disorder my medication has changed once in type from Olanzapine to Amisulpride and the dosages have only gone up.

I feel there is no progression in my treatment and that I am merely locked within a cycle of "Standard Questioning" to which the only possible avenue for change is if I am deemed to be a risk to Society at which point I feel the only action that will be undertaken will be incarceration "for the good of society", and that my mental well-being is not being consiered at all.

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Response from

Thank you for sharing your comments about the care and treatment you have received from Lancashire Care Foundation Trust. I am concerned about the issues you raised about your treatment and consultation. As a Trust we want to be responsive to all feedback from service users and carers, and follow up any particular concerns that individuals may have about the services we provide. I would very much like to discuss this in more detail with you, so that we can look at addressing the particular issues you have raised and learn from them. You can contact me via our Complaints department 01772 695315.


Chris Aspinall, Assistant Network Director, Central Lancashire

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