"There appear to be no other options on offer without another lengthy wait"

About: South London And Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust / Older people's mental health

(as the patient),

In my opinion this organisation is failing it's service users and ignoring the NICE guidelines. At the centre that I attend in Purley there seem to be no systems in place at the basic level, e. g. whilst seeing a doctor every three weeks, when he suddenly had to leave it was six months later before I was able able to see his replacement, and only then at the insistence of my GP was it possible. Meanwhile, my condition had got so much worse he had to visit me at home.

The waiting lists for talking therapy are absurd. Having previously attended a group CBT course that was unsuccessful, I was told that the only talking therapy available was CBT and I was actively discouraged from joining the waiting list. It was upsetting to discover that I was being blocked from other services by panel decisions that were contingent upon me taking the CBT course. The NICE guidelines state that although CBT is the first option, if it has failed, other approaches should be tried. Except that there appear to be no other options on offer without another lengthy wait, if at all.

In 2008 two mental health professionals, one of whom knew me well said I needed a referral to the Affective Disorders Unit at the Bethlem. This was subsequently pursued by the (excellent) doctor who was responsible for my care in local services. However even then this was blocked by a panel decision on funding. So, on the one hand we have a Professor and two Consultants saying one thing, and on the other a group of people who know nothing about me. At the time of writing (Nov 2013) I have yet to access the services I need.

I am currently considering all options. My condition has becoming significantly worse that it was in 2008. Normally I would be unable to write this but having an important appointment changed four times in one day has proved the final straw.

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