"Problems with access to Mental Health Services"

About: NHS Tayside

(as the patient),

I have had depression on and off for almost 20 years. Mostly, I'm fine, but last year I realised that I was going downhill. Just after June, I went to see my GP, and he said that he would refer me to NHS Tayside's Psychiatric Services.

I knew that it would take a few weeks to get an appointment, so I struggled on.I waited, and waited, and eventually my husband - who works in the hospital - mentioned to them that I was waiting for an appointment.

A few days later, I received a letter telling me that I was not suitable for the psychiatric service, and that I should contact my GP. We were both surprised by this. NHS Tayside does not have a psychological service, and has to use Mindspace - a private company. My GP told them that I was an NHS patient, and that I had had money worries, so DO NOT ask me for money.

It took until the start of December to get my initial appointment, and the first thing I was asked was could I make a contribution to my treatment. I am still waiting to start my actual course.

I recently phoned them to ask when I was likely to get my first appointment as I was feeling very bad. I was told that the were 2 waiting lists. One was the standard waiting list and the other was the so called "urgent" waiting list. This list could get me an immediate appointment, if I was willing to pay £30 per session!

My GP is furious, as am I. I cannot understand why NHS Tayside does not have a full psychology service, especially as mental health issues are becoming more prevalent. My GP has been fantastic in trying to help me as best as he can, but he can go no further, and I am at the end of my tether. I used Mindspace once before, and I found them of little help. They seem to be exploiting the NHS, by receiving a payment from them, then asking the patient to contribute to the cost of their treatment

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Responses

Response from Alison Moss, Feedback Manager, NHS Tayside

Dear KittyB

I am sorry to hear of the difficulties you have been experiencing in accessing psychological services and the delays you have encountered. The NHS Psychological Therapies Service provides support throughout Tayside, with almost 100 Applied Psychologists currently employed. The Service covers all age groups and all specialties, receiving approximately 8,000 referrals per annum and consistently achieves the Scottish Government 18 week referral to treatment waiting time target.

Unfortunately, I am unable to provide specific information regarding your own experience without further information. I would, therefore, be grateful if you could contact me via the Complaints and Feedback Team to enable me to do so. The Team can be contacted via telephone on 0800 027 5507 (freephone) or via email to feedback.tayside@nhs.net

Kind regards.

Karen Ozden

Director of Mental Health / Associate Nurse Director

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