"South Edinburgh Intensive Home Treatment Mental Health Team"

About: Royal Edinburgh Hospital / General Psychiatry

(as the patient),

South Edinburgh intensive home treatment team came to my home to assess me. I felt that they did not listen to me or respect my views and experiences. I also felt that they were patronising and made decisions without me and would not explain. I was not given any chance to be involved in decisions. There was no allowance for what I wanted or needed.

I think I was treated without fairness or respect by several staff from the team. One doctor was argumentative and arrogant, talked a lot but did not listen to my views. I would not want them in my home again.

Please do not suggest I complain to NHS Lothian customer relations and feedback team. When I did this about a serious problem on a ward at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital I don't think it was properly investigated and staff covered up to hide what had happened. The complaint was dismissed and I felt criticised for complaining. The way NHS Lothian dealt with my complaint made it seem like their goal was to deny problems and get rid of complaints as quickly as possible without apologising, not to understand if there were things going wrong and make improvements.

As long as that is their attitude I fear mental health services in Edinburgh will not improve.

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Response from Stuart Wilson, Director of Communications and Public Affairs, NHS Lothian

I am sorry that you have had a negative experience regarding your care from the South Edinburgh intensive home treatment team.

Despite your reservations the only way we can look into this is if you contact the Customer Relations and Feedback Team at NHS Lothian. Again, I’m sorry if you feel that this method of looking into your complaint was not handled well the last time. NHS Lothian follows strict guidelines in relation to the way it handles complaints and this is ultimately overseen by the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman who can take an independent investigation if you remain unhappy with the response from NHS Lothian.

The SPSO can be visited online via www.spso.org.uk

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Update posted by mbw (the patient)

Thanks for your reply. I did make a complaint in writing, but I was disappointed by the response, which didn't seem to have listened to the concerns I raised, and both denied and defended the rudeness of the doctor.

Subsequently I was seen by this team again following a suicide attempt. During treatment by them I attempted suicide again. I was immediately discharged from the team because of this.

Why would a mental health intensive treatment team discharge someone because they were suicidal? It seems like this team are treating only the patients they choose to rather than the patients who need treatment.

Please don't ask me to contact the 'customer' (I'm a patient, not a customer - that implies more choice and control in my access to care than I have) relations and feedback team. I've not found that helpful, and responses have been defensive not constructive. I have not felt listened to.

Response from Melanie Johnson, Executive Nurse Director, NHS Lothian


Thank you for taking the time to share your experience. I am pleased we have had the opportunity to communicate by email and hope we can begin to address the concerns you have raised.

Best wishes


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Update posted by mbw (the patient)

Thanks Melanie. It was a relief to hear from someone and to be able to communicate by email. I tried to get in touch with Tim as you suggested, I have left a message and am waiting for a response.

Update posted by mbw (the patient)

I was referred again to the Intensive Home Treatment Team by my psychiatrist this week. The team did an assessment but then refused the referral. I was told I did not fit team criteria, despite having been referred to them, and being in crisis. This is a disappointing way for NHS Lothian to respond to mental health crisis, leaving people who do not fit a narrow and subjective range of criteria, with no crisis help at all. I was not offered any support or treatment, and no alternative help was offered, other than being told to call the mental health assessment service, whose only option would be to do another assessment for admission or for the same team. It feels as though people in crisis are sent in a circle, bounced between teams and assessments and found ineligible, with noone stopping to help.

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