"Northampton NHS Trust Clinical Psychology department closed, patients abandoned"

About: Northampton General Hospital (Acute) / Pain Management Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust / Adult mental health

(as the patient),

In October 2011, Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust closed their service for Clinical Psychological patients and at the time the trust stated that it would be in contact with patients affected by this closure.

Local newspapers covered the news of the closure http: //www. northamptonchron. co. uk/news/health/patient-dismay-as-unit-at-northampton-general-hospital-is-condemned-1-3034421

At the time I was a patient of this service, receiving treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which in itself was caused by problems with treatment in another department within the hospital.

I was informed of the closure approximately 3 weeks before the event and despite the hospital’s promise to advise patients of how their future care would be provided, to date I have not receive this information.

I have attempted to resolve this problem ( and others ) myself, including written communications to the Chief Executive of the trust on 3 separate occasions. Once in 2011 to which I received no response, once in 2012 to which a response was received, however this response made no reference or mention of the psychology service, and the third written this year, which again I have yet to receive any response or acknowledgement of this letter. All 3 of these letters have been sent to the hospital on my behalf by the office of my local MP.

I have recently been in contact with a former senior member of staff who tells me that I am not the only person to have contacted them about this matter, however they no longer work for the NHS and is unable to assist.

I feel that I have exhausted all avenues of inquiry and so feel that I have no choice but to try to draw attention to this problem in a public forum.

I will not go into detail about the psychological issues created by the hospital but am certainly willing to do so if it would be of use in explaining the extent of the problems caused by the removal of the service.

It has been very difficult to write this as people with any psychological disorder are often too easily labelled and preconceptions are drawn without understanding the individual. It is my hope that by drawing attention to this issue that I can shine a spotlight on both the broken promises made by the hospital and also the suffering that this has caused to myself and no doubt to other patients too.

There are no words to define how it feels to beg an NHS trust to help a patient who depended on their service, why should someone have to fight for so long to obtain help? Is it right that a patient who follows the rules and does not make a fuss should be abandoned? As a patient I have been left with only 1 choice and I will not go gently into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

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Response from Chris Gomm, Communications Officer, Communications, Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for your message - I am responding on behalf of Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (NHFT).

We do not know the full details of your individual circumstances but after reading your message we would strongly urge you to contact the Trust directly so that we can see how we can support you.

The Clinical Psychology Service at Northampton General Hospital (NGH) was provided by NGH so was not one of our (NHFT) services, however, we do provide a range of mental health services so we would like to hear from you as soon as possible.

In the first instance, can we recommend that you contact either our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) on 0800 917 8504 or email pals@nhft.nhs.uk. This way we can establish how we can help you.

Alternatively if you wanted to specifically discuss the Clinical Psychology Service you used to receive at NGH, then you can contact their PALS service on 01604 545784.

Please do get in touch so that we can see how we can support you.

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Update posted by jaycee northampton (the patient)

I do not know what the difference between a hospital trust and NHS Foundation Trust is, I have made many attempts to get NGH to sort something out and the only reply I receive is that they are no longer responsible for any psychology service and that all patients were informed at the time about their ongoing treatment, despite this they are unable to tell me what arrangements were made. I have been in contact with a member of the managerial staff of the previous psychology service who estimates that approx 80 patients were left without any support.

NGH have passed my letters to NHFT but I have yet to receive details of any arrangements.

Since you posted your reply I have contacted PALS at NHFT on 3 occassions and been told that the correct person would call me back with information but I have yet to receive any such call.

I have spoken to PALS at NGH but they are unable to assist, both NGH and NGH PALS have stated that too much time has now passed since the service was closed and that NGH is unable to assist any further. I am attempting to progress this issue further not just for myself but for the other patients who were abandoned.

Given the stigma attached to matters of mental health, it is very difficult to make the issue in a public forum but it seems that it is the only way to get the message through. Although I am grateful for the offer of support, it would seem that you have rather missed the point, I do not ask for support just for myself but also for those who are unable to ask for themselves. If NHFT took over responsibility for the provision of the service then I would have expected to have heard from them in October 2011 or some time between then and now. I would suggest that this needs much more detailed investigation at a managerial level in order to identify what can be done for all of the abandoned patients.

Response from Hugh Jones, Service User and Carer Involvement Lead , Quality Support and Assurance, Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Dear Jaycee,

I am really disappointed that this matter remains unresolved. If you would like to email me on hugh.jones@nhft.nhs.uk I will raise the issues with the correct person.

Best wishes

Hugh Jones

Service User and Carer Involvement Lead

01536 480 332

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