"Worried that complaining leaves me vulnerable to unfavourable treatment"

About: Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust / Inpatient mental health care

(as the patient),

Whilst an inpatient in PHC, I was called a freak by a staff member and, although I would like to make an official complaint, I feel unable to do so.

The course of my illness means I will be likely to be admitted in the future for treatment and feel that this would make me vulnerable to unfavourable treatment. The statement was made in front of other staff and patients and I spoke to a member of staff following the incident. No one at the time challenged the remark but seemingly laughed it off at my expense. How can this happen in today's society to someone who was already feeling isolated?

There were another couple of uncomfortable incidents concerning the same staff member and I feel that the individual should not be allowed to practice in this manner but feel powerless to act upon this and advocate for myself.

I suspect the individual relies on an intimidating manner to get away with this believing no one will challenge and this may be true but at some point this behaviour will become apparent. I am saddened that I have let this eat away at me without addressing the problem as this is not my nature and I believe if this has happened to me then it's happened to others.

I do not believe its acceptable to excuse this behaviour. I also feel that I would not be believed as I was unwell at the time. Now I feel I would be viewed as an individual causing trouble when in reality I am not a person who readily will make any complaint. I am less likely to agree to informal admission in the future following this experience.

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Responses

Response from Patient Experience Coordinator, PALS & Complaints, Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

I would sincerely like to apologise for the very unacceptable experience you have had whilst an inpatient at Peter Hodgkinson Centre. We would really like to investigate further and would appreciate the chance to talk to you.

If you would like to contact the PALS (Patient Advice & Liaison Service) & Complaints department either by letter, email or telephone we will endeavour to investigate your complaint. Please be reassured that your complaint will be treated with the utmost confidentiality, the PALS & Complaints department will act impartially to help and advise you.

The contact details are:

Freepost RSAZ-SJHU-CKYK

PALS & Complaints

Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Unit 8 The Point

Lions Way

Sleaford

NG34 8GG

Tel: 01529 222265

Email: PALS@lpft.nhs.uk

Response from Patient Experience Coordinator, PALS & Complaints, Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Craig McLean, our Head of Acute Care was very sorry to hear that your recent stay in the Peter Hodgkinson Centre was poor and that you felt powerless to challenge staff on the way you were being treated. The staff behaviour is inexcusable and we sincerely apologise.

We would urge you to contact the PALS & Complaints department as suggested in the previous reply and they will help and advise you to make a complaint so we can investigate further. The PALS & Complaints department have details of independent advocacy services that can advocate for you if at any time you feel unable to challenge any situations you find yourself in within mental health services.

In regards to any future informal admissions, please speak to your Care Coordinator to allay any concerns you may have regarding any admissions, they can help and advise on how to gain any help you may need on advocacy services. Details are below.

NHS Complaints Advocacy POhWER

Write to: POhWER, PO Box 14043, Birmingham, B6 9BL.

Tel: 0300 200 0084

Email: pohwer@pohwer.net

Update posted by person (the patient)

Feedback from this story.

I did complain, it was investigated and the staff member denied it. I was left feeling that there had been little point in putting myself through the process.

The feedback was that the staff member remembered the day I referred to and recalled that they did not call me a freak. I was an inpatient for several weeks so I am curious if the person who spoke to the staff member questioned how they could recall that one day I was referring to. I hope the staff member was challenged and learnt from it, though I doubt this happened.

During my stay, I did hear several staff complaining about how this staff member spoke to patients. I feel sad that there is no one willing to stand up and be counted. Accountability does not seem to have been demonstrated here.

I still cannot believe this happened. I feel that because I am just a patient, if a staff member says it didn't happen, their truth is clearly believed over my truth.

Updates, changes and questions related to this story