"Referral gone wrong - Mental Health"
Posted by MHPatient (as ),
I visited a GP in the Ross-Shire area to talk about depression, anxiety and increasing suicidal/self-harming thoughts. This was not a new problem, and I had been seeing various professionals since I was quite young – although the only formal diagnosis I received was OCD and Depression.
The GP was kind and understanding, and made an emergency referral to the mental health team, which I thought was particularly good as sometimes GP’s just tell you to come back in 2 weeks and see how things are. This was on a Thursday.
I was amazed to receive an appointment with a CPN for the following Tuesday – in my many years as service-user I have never before seen such a quick response, even for emergency referrals.
I then saw the CPN for a number of weeks until my appointment with the Psychiatrist arrived. I was becoming increasingly suicidal, and the CPN kindly made a phonecall to the psychiatry department to see if they knew how long it would be until I was seen. I saw the CPN around 4 times before receiving my appointment with the Psychiatrist.
I was advised to take a family member with me as they like to interview them separately, which I had never heard of and was a bit uncomfortable with, particularly as I hadn’t lived with a family member for 4 years, but I was just grateful for the appointment, so I took my sister.
When we arrived, it was a trainee who was conducting the appointment. He spoke to us both for around 2 minutes, then asked me to wait outside while he spoke with my sister, who had to leave to go back to work asap. My sister then left and I was invited in. Although the trainee was fairly nice, the questions we asked were only related to OCD and to Borderline Personality Disorder – the trainee simply went through each diagnostic category and asked if I experienced it. I thought this was very much a crude way of measuring how I felt, and left no room for me to talk about my other mental health problems. After around 20-30mins of questions, the trainee asked me to wait outside again while they spoke to the Psychiatrist.
After another 5 mins, I was invited back in, this time with the trainee and the psychiatrist. I was told that I had a mild form of Borderline Personality Disorder, and was asked what my main issues were. I said I struggled with moodswings in particular. The doctor and I disagreed about anger, the doctor said they felt that was a problem with me and I didn’t agree, I still don’t, but I am willing to accept what appears. In total, I spent about 10minutes with the psychiatrist – in a psychiatric appointment. BPD was not explained to me. They said they didn’t offer medication, and that as I was due to return to Edinburgh in around a months time, they would not be referring me to services, but that when I got to Edinburgh I should ask my GP to refer me to Psychology and that he would write a letter to confirm this). I was then discharged. This was August 2013.
When I returned to Edinburgh, I asked for the referral, which again was handled brilliantly by an amazing GP. I received a letter a few weeks later saying that it would be a number of months before I would be seen. I have only just begun the assessment process with the psychology department in Edinburgh, making it a total of over 7 months to be seen. I am suicidal, depressed, have insomnia, and am failing my final year of Uni.
My question is – why would the Psychiatrist not refer me to services in Edinburgh, rather than discharge me? I appreciate there would still have been a waiting list, but this would definitely not have been 7 months. If I had a physical health condition, I would have been referred to the correct department in a different city. Why was this different because of a mental health condition?
How can I go from being referred as an emergency case, to being diagnosed to being discharged in about 6 weeks? I gained a diagnosis of a personality disorder, and suddenly my need for services reduced?
Another question – why, in an appointment which was supposed to be with a Psychiatrist, did I only have contact with a psychiatrist for 10 minutes?
I do not think this is acceptable care.