"Lack of mental health awareness in A&E"

About: Queen's Medical Centre / Accident and emergency

(as a friend),

My friend asked me to take her to A&E at the QMC I haven't been there before as there was no need. She had self harmed herself bruising her arm with a mug and originally had spoken to NHS direct would like her to have an X-ray. We arrived at 20. 30 and went in and took a seat. She was very honest about how she had damaged her arm and was I very disappointed with he second nurse who was taking notes and doing her BP as she seemed to demonstrate no mental health awareness and just seemed to be quite shocked at the self harm my friend was open enough to tell them and I really felt the women had not had sufficient training or experience to deal with this information. I work in health care and she just looked like she thought it was a suicide attempt, which I doubt bruising you're arm could actually kill you. I work as a carer and was very disappointed with this much judgemental opinion within an emergency department.

After waiting 3 hours we then asked how long down the list we were when we discovered we have a 5/6 hr wait minimum we left due to her having a mental health review des appointment the next day and she would be unable to stay awake for it. She had suffered with the pain all day and being distracted for a few hours did decrease the pain. I found the withdrawal of care system very illogical as asked one nurse who tried to convince us to stay all night and asked us just to go back to the room you would need to talk to this person eventually I went back alone and requested that my friend would like to self discharge herself and that lady agreed to do that and asked us to wait while they looked into what was needed eventually just came and said we can leave after the other had said we may need to sign a refusal of care form.

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Response from Queen's Medical Centre

Thank you for taking time to share your feedback with us. We take all incidents of mental illness seriously in the Emergency Department. It is important that we establish a full history from the patient, including a risk assessment when patients present with self-harm. We endeavour to ask these difficult questions in a sensitive manner. I apologise for the delay you experienced. With further information and consent form the patient we can investigate your concerns more fully. If you would like us to do so please do get in touch on 0115 9249924 ext. 61784 or email Josephine.merrifield@nuh.nhs.uk. Regards Jo Merrifield Emergency Department Sister Queens Medical Centre NUH, Nottingham

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