"Support for under 65's"

About: NHS Tameside and Glossop CCG

(as the patient),

Mental Health Services and Support for Housebound adults under the age of 65 seems to be non-existent.

There appears to be brick walls at every turn.

My physical health has deteriorated, worryingly, over the last few years, because I struggle to get access to care to home.

Explain to a medical professional that you have severe social phobia, agoraphobia, PTSD and depression, and it is as though that is not enough to warrant any care at home.

In order just to register with a GP, it now takes 2 visits to the practice... the first visit to fill in a form and provide ID; and once you have done that, another appointment is arranged to see the practice Nurse, before you can be registered to even see a GP (I am still waiting for a good day and praying for some support, after 2 months since I moved to a new area, to enable me to take in my registration form and ID, so I haven't managed the first hurdle yet.

Because of this, I am now without medication). For someone with mental health problems so severe that they struggle to leave the house, this is an absolute disgrace. I have not been able to have a smear test for years. I have a lump in my breast. Am borderline diabetic, and only recently have I found a service that provides eye-tests at home. It seems that support is only available if you are a pensioner, when there are millions of adults in the UK, under pension age, that need more medical support from home.

Until then, our physical and mental health will continue to deteriorate, and we are faced with insurmountable red-tape at every turn. Some of us may be lucky enough to find a charity that may be able to help us attend appointments with support to get outside the home. However, this support is not on-going, and most people are lucky if they get help once or twice.

The hurdles we face put us at risk of further deterioration due to the stress involved with the whole process of just leaving the house... physical pain, lack of sleep leading up to and after the event, raised blood pressure, fear and panic attacks etc etc etc.

It is almost like asking someone with a broken leg to walk, despite the severity of the pain, and the risk of further injury. Sadly, because it is an unseen illness, it is not recognised as it should be. The levels of distress caused, and the deterioration of both physical and mental well-being, because support, understanding and services are lacking, is a national shame.

I sincerely hope that things improve for those of us that struggle every moment of every day with varying health issues, on top of battling with mental illness, in what seems like a very isolating, lonely and scary place, with none, or very little support offered for care at home when it is desperately needed for so many in this position.

It is not just the elderly that can become housebound and isolated. There are many people under 65 who have no support at all, and are still having to try and battle with red-tape within the medical profession. When will things change for us? When will things improve?

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Responses

Response from Julie Beech, Healthwatch Administrator, Healthwatch Tameside

We are sorry to hear of the difficulties you are experiencing.

Healthwatch Tameside offer an information signposting service to Tameside residents and people who use Tameside health and social care services. We can also help people who want to make a complaint about an NHS service.

If you would like our assistance in any way, please give Karen Whitworth, or a member of the Healthwatch team, a call on 0161 667 2526. Alternatively, you can email your details to info@healthwatchtameside.co.uk and we will get in touch with you.

For more details about Healthwatch Tameside and what we do, please look at our website at http://www.healthwatchtameside.co.uk

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Response from Julie Beech, Healthwatch Administrator, Healthwatch Tameside

We hope you have been able to progress your healthcare. Here is some information which you may find useful.

If you have not been able to visit your GP surgery yet, have you tried asking for a home visit, for the paperwork to be collected and to carry out the pre-registration checks? If you would like our assistance, please give Karen Whitworth, or a member of the Healthwatch team, a call on 0161 667 2526. Alternatively, you can email your details to info@healthwatchtameside.co.uk and we will get in touch with you.

Pennine Care offer a Healthy Minds service. Details of what this service offers can be found at https://www.penninecare.nhs.uk/your-services/service-directory/tameside-and-glossop/mental-health/adults/tameside-and-glossop-healthy-minds/ Their telephone number is 0161 716 4242.

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Response from Peter Denton, Healthwatch Manager, Healthwatch Tameside

Hi Kimmy,

I know that Julie from my team has already responded but I was in a meeting earlier this week with some local GPs and other primary care staff. I took the opportunity to ask them how they would support someone with agoraphobia to register with a GP. Their response was:

1. If they had a patient with agoraphobia who was moving away from their practice area they would be very happy to write to the GP practice this patient wanted to register with after they move. This letter would enable them to set out how they had supported the patient in terms of accessing health care. If you were registered with a GP before you moved it might be worth contacting your old GP and asking them to do this for you.

2. They all said that if you did feel able to go to the practice (assuming you lived in their catchment area) they would be happy to talk to you about the quietest times for you to visit and also try to arrange to do the ID check and new registration health checks in one visit rather than asking you to go twice.

3. They also said that if someone really was unable to go to the practice they would talk about whether a practice nurse might be able to come to you to do the ID check and new registration health checks in a single visit.

I hope this is helpful - but if you do need more assistance please do get in touch with Karen on our team, as suggested above. If you contact our office and tell us which area you live in, I'd be happy for us to contact the primary care team in the CCG and ask them to find out if there was a practice in that area that had a specific interest in or experience of patients with agoraphobia.

Best wishes

Peter

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