"Urgent referral leads to an appointment 3 months later"

About: Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust / Adult mental health Sheffield Children's NHS Foundation Trust

(as a parent/guardian),

My special needs stepdaughter who has severe learning disabilities is currently transitioning to adult mental health services. Throughout her adolescence, we have been on the verge of resorting to medication to help manage her challenging behaviours. We are very well versed in using different strategies to deal with this and have in the past had support from a psychiatric nurse.

Dealing with a disinhibited, wilful teenager is far from easy at the best of times but recently things have become almost impossible for us. She uses violence to try and control her environment and is focussing this violence on my wife. My wife is constantly covered in bruises and scratches from my stepdaughter's kicking, pinching and headbutting. This is happening 2 or 3 times a week every week. My wife has an underactive thyroid and is finding all this very difficult to cope with.

We related all this to my stepdaughter's neurologist at the Ryegate Centre in May. He advised us that if he did medicate her, the prescription would expire and need reissuing when she officially fell under adult services in early August. He also said it would be inappropriate for him to decide the type of medication and impose it on adult services. Rather, the professional courtesy was to defer to them and allow them to decide. Given the severity of our situation, he promised to write to adult services and to ask for an urgent referral as soon as possible.

We have now received the appointment from adult services and their idea of an urgent referral is a date in mid September. So we are now left with the prospect of dealing with this intolerable situation on our own for 3 months. Our experience of children services has been fantastic and they are always very patient centric. If this is typical of the support we are going to receive from adult services, then that's very worrying and depressing for us.

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Response from Helen Wyatt, Manager, Patient and Public Involvement , Quality Assurance Team, Rotherham Clinical Commissioning Group

Dear Frankly1972

I'm replying on behalf of Rotherham Clinical Commissioning Group, the organisation that plans and commissions health services for Rotherham patients.

We'd really like to understand why you've been told you need to wait for so long for an appointment, to do this, I need to be able to contact service in question. Can you help me by letting me know which service your daughter is waiting to see, please?

If you can share this, it will help me and my colleagues to find out the reasons and seek a solution for you, and also seek to ensure this does not happen to others.

I really do understand your frustration and the difficulties you face, having been in a similar situation myself a number of years ago, and would really like to help you resolve the situation.

You can contact me via Patient Opinion, by email (helen.wyatt@rotherham.nhs.uk), or on 01709 302042, whichever is most convenient.


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Update posted by Frankly1972 (a parent/guardian)

First of all I just want to say how brilliant it is to receive such a rapid and proactive response from Helen. I find it strange that RDASH (the service our frustration relates to) read my story but didn't actually think it worthy of a response. I have now spoken to Helen and she has left me in no doubt of her team's determination to get to the bottom of this for me and my family. It's hugely appreciated.

Response from Joanne Robertshaw, PALS Coordinator, Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust

Hello Frankly1972

Firstly, please accept my apologies on behalf of the trust, for not responding to you sooner.

I am the Patient Advice and Liaison Coordinator for RDaSH, and having just received an alert to your posting on this website, I will do my utmost to resolve any concerns you have with our services.

Before I can pursue this matter on your behalf, I will need to speak to you in person to discuss this matter in detail and also obtain clarification as to which RDaSH service you refer to.

If you could please contact me on 0800 015 4334 anytime between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday, or email me at pals@rdash.nhs.uk, I am sure we can resolve this matter to everyone's satisfaction.


Joanne Robertshaw

PALS Coordinator

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Update posted by Frankly1972 (a parent/guardian)

It's always important to give credit where it's due and Joanne from RDASH has been a great help. Unfortunately RDASH had not received the neurologist's referral and we had been given a standard appointment due to a separate referral from Rotherham's Learning Disability Team. Joanne has chased up the neurologist's referral and is also trying to ensure we get an earlier appointment in any case based on our challenging circumstances. This is great customer service which we as a family are extremely grateful for.

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