"Crisis Care in Camden"

About: Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust / Crisis resolution

(as a carer),

I have read some stories about the MH Trust and there are responses via a feedback e mail address as if no one has already complained. The cases I read about have already complained and the MH trust has ignored the complaints. Until very recently they were stating that there were no problems ( until the deaths).

I am in a carers group for carers of people with MH problems. I care for my sister and I have also been a service user. Many of us have complained about no crisis care or beds for admission but complaints are always ignored. So to tell us to complain again is useless- the MH Trust doesnt listen ever. The complaints team just accept whatever they are told by the MH workers.

The Camden Crisis services are awful. They refused to speak with me when I contacted them as I was 'only the carer'. I have a carers assessment and am also the nearest relative when they want to section her. My sister was not well enough to call them and refused to speak to them. The worker refused to give their name so I could report them. Mu sister also will only speak to women workers and I was told there weren't any in the south Camden Crisis Team that night or the next day. This has happened before with me and other people and they have said the same to my sister and told her she has to have a man visit which is unsafe for her.

My sister was also psychotic and the worker said they don't come out at night and I would have to call the police. This would have made the situation much worse. I said she needed a mental health assessment and a bed in hospital as I couldn't cope as I was also ill, He said she would have to go to A&E or no one would assess her. She then went missing.

I spoke with MIND and other people in Camden and the carers group and the GP. They all said the same thing that they had heard the same story from lots of people.

This worker didn't even apparently record that I had called - I asked the social worker to check the notes. This is in south Camden. I said I wanted to complain but was told the crisis team then would refuse again to work with her. This is always what we talk about in the carers group that if you raise a complaint then the patient gets refused. I saw a complaint here from a BME carer and that is the same for many people.

I agree with other people the response here from the Trust are about good PR. Does the person reading this from the Trust really believe people haven't already complained or said they were worried?

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Responses

Response from Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust

Dear Camden Carer Mental Health

Thanks very much for your message. Firstly may I say that we don't ignore complaints. Each complaint is looked into and a response provided. Each complaint or element of feedback is acted on. In relation to this website what you say isn't accurate. Many of the people who have left opinions on it have not complained formally before. They may have complained to a friend or some other figure but not specifically to the Trust's feedback team. That is what we urge people to do. Their contact details are feedback@candi.nhs.uk

Surprisingly when I ask people to contact us confidentially after posting details on this site so we can actually help them or their friend or family member further, they often don't get in touch. They are asking for help, but we can't help because we don't know who is being spoken about so we sometimes have to post fairly generic replies.

I hope therefore, in this instance this doesn't happen and you will get in touch so we can help your sister as she is not getting the care she needs. Let's see if we can sort this out so please do get in touch with feedback@candi.nhs.uk (mention this post) and see if we can make a difference and get this care improved.

Kind regards

Karl

Response from Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust

Dear Camden Carer

We are sorry that you have been disappointed with our services. I would like to respond to each one of your complaints contained within your letter. Your points are numbered below.

1. The cases I read about have already complained and the MH trust has ignored the complaints.

All complaints which are received by our Advice and Complaints Service are registered formally by the Trust. They are then passed to the Associate Director for each Division who allocates them according to whichever team they fall under. The Clinical Team Manager for that particular team is then expected to investigate and compile a response and respond. This has been established Trust protocol for many years. If you could give us the details of past complaints where there has not been a response then we would be happy to investigate these.

2. The complaints team just accepts whatever they are told by the MH workers.

You are partially correct on this point; the complaints teams’ role is not to investigate the complaint and would therefore not have an option to make an analysis of the complaint. However they provide the governance and monitor the standards ensuring that each team adheres to the policy in relation to Complaints.

3. They refused to speak with me when I contacted them as I was 'only the carer'.

The Camden Crisis services, like all teams should take into account the needs of the service user and also the opinions of the carers involved. We know how valuable and essential carers are in providing support and without them, home treatment via the Crisis Team would be much more difficult to manage or even impossible at times. The Crisis Teams take on a whole social systems approach when it comes to implementing successful home treatments. Therefore the thoughts and opinions of all carers are invaluable and essential in making this process work effectively.

4. The worker refused to give their name so I could report them.

This is of enormous concern and completely unacceptable. The staff member should always identify themselves. It would be useful to meet with you or talk on the phone in order that I can explore this further. If you can give me more detail, it will enable me to investigate this in greater detail.

5. I was told there weren’t any (women workers) in the South Camden team that night or the next day.

At night, the north and south Camden Crisis Team operate as one service and provide a Senior Clinician to facilitate this. As it is one staff member on, this means that support is limited to telephone contact and/or assessment in conjunction with the Liaison Teams at the Accident and Emergency departments. Due to the teams needing an equal mix of gender, this results in nights when a male staff member is on duty. When service users who are in crisis ring the team, and they state they wish to speak with a female staff member only, then the male staff member will contact their colleagues at either the Crisis Team in Islington or one of the three Crisis Houses in the Trust to locate a woman staff member who can provide the telephone support which is required.

When undertaking home visits, again if a woman staff member is required then one will be provided. We are very vigilant about gender mix when undertaking home visits and ensure that any needs or requests in relation to this are addressed via the twice daily handovers and progress notes and patient care plans.

6. My sister was also psychotic and the worker said they don't come out at night and I would have to call the police.

It is true that Crisis Team staff do not come out to service users’ homes between the hours of 20.45hrs and 08:15hrs. The Crisis Teams in Camden & Islington are staffed by one Registered Mental Health Nurse or Social Worker at night. In Camden, they are based in The UCL Hospital and work alongside the Mental Health Liaison Team. Due to this staffing level, they can only communicate on the phone with service users or invite them in to be seen in person via the Accident and Emergency department if the situation cannot be contained and managed via the telephone.

7. This worker didn't even apparently record that I had called

All calls in relation to a patient should be recorded on the electronic case file. Again it would be helpful to meet up or even call me in order for me to explore this further. I am concerned about your comment that, “if you raise a complaint then the patient gets refused”. This is deeply disturbing and I must assure you that this does not happen.

Yours sincerely

H. Harries

Mr. Hayner Harries

South Camden Crisis Resolution Team

(hayner.harries@candi.nhs.uk)