"being refused a second pyschatric opinion"
About: Advocacy Support Cymru Advocacy Support Cymru Cardiff CF23 8AB Cardiff & Vale University Health Board Cardiff & Vale University Health Board Cardiff CF14 4XW Pentwyn Health Centre Pentwyn Health Centre Cardiff CF23 7JD
Posted by dragonvoice (as ),
I have been asking for a second opinion from our local academic team who offer this service in management of complex psychiatric cases. There is no cost for the service to the NHS. I was seen by this service a few years ago and have tried everything that was suggested then so it seems to me perfectly logical to now go back. I have been requesting this for a year now.
I have suffered from bi polar disorder for over 19 years and unfortunately I have not responded to standard treatments. I was extremely fortunate to have excellent care for the first 10 years or so from an academic consultant. And for many years following his departure I did have excellent care from a pharmacist who was qualified to prescribe under guidance from a consultant. However since she left over 2 years ago I have pretty much been left without any effective support and it in that have ended up sectioned and remaining unwell for an entire year and becoming severely unwell a year ago without anyone from my new CMHT realising what was happening to me (see previous 3 stories)
The Royal College of Psychiatrists say on their website that although there is no legal right to a second opinion everyone should be able to access one, especially if a significant decision has been made.
I have not received a satisfactory explanation from my CMHT as to why my symptoms which all my family, friends and GP practice knew were symptoms of a manic relapse with psychotic symptoms was not picked up by them and why instead they have attempted to explain them as personality difficulties. My own self reporting once I was well enough has also been ignored. Given all this I do not have confidence in the medical team and this is another reason for seeking a second opinion.
I have repeatedly been told that they see no need for a second opinion as I am currently stable. While this may be true right now, over the last 3 years I have suffered 3 serious relapses all with psychosis and all happened while I was taking medication as prescribed and on 2 occasions increasing it rapidly. Last year despite taking the maximum dose of an anti psychotics I was still experiencing psychosis for 3 months. This is very worrying for me. 3 years ago we were able to stabilise things much more quickly with a much lower dose. I am fearful of how we would manage another relapse. Given all this I hardly see that the argument that I am currently stable is robust. I have been asking for a medication crisis plan for the last year as well and this has also been refused with my then consultant saying there were many medication options and she would not commit to anything. This shows no understanding of quickly I can become unwell (evidence from 2013 when I ended up sectioned 6 days after I said I needed help to prevent this) it also shows no understanding of my medication history and there are not in fact many options because I have already tried most of them.
I was also under the impression that this referral has already been made. I attended a meeting with the manager of my CMHT in March which was also attended by my advocate and the commissioner of the advocacy service who is an employee of the health board. The commissioner became involved after my advocate had outlined my situation in a meeting. The commissioner was very concerned and asked if she could attend this meeting. I thought that was a good idea. We again made this request for a second opinion form the academic team. The following day my advocate told me she had received a phone call from the commissioner who had told her she had spoken directly to the clinical director and had instructed her to instruct the CMHT to make the referral.
Nearly 2 months later and I had heard nothing. My advocate emailed the manager who replied saying that the medical team says there is no need. It is as if the above never happened. My advocate then copied the commissioner into an email and we are waiting for a response.
I do not understand why they are so reluctant to follow good practice. There is no cost and since I have been referred previously there will already be a medication history in my notes and I have only tried one more drug since then so the referral would not require much work.
The Royal College of Psychiatrists also say on their website that the more manic episodes you have had the more likely you are to go on to have another one. Given that I have had so many manic episodes that I lost count about 15 years ago it seems to me very sensible to plan for the future rather than just wait until I do have another episode. It also seems sensible to me to look at future treatment options while I am well enough to understand and ask questions rather then when I am severely unwell.