"Perinatal Psychiatry Services"

I self referred to this service due to a previous traumatic birth experience and the anxiety I was feeling in accessing maternity services in my current pregnancy.

I was seen by a psychiatrist for approximately 40 minutes whom gave the impression of understanding how I was feeling.

I requested assistance with ways to reduce my anxiety when attending pre natal appointments and hospital for giving birth.

It was agreed at this meeting a second meeting would take place where a care plan would be produced with me providing information on the support I had around me and resources would be sent to me on self help strategies. I was assured that the service could help.

I was introduced to a community pysch nurse who advised me they would see me post birth. I was slightly confused as pre-birth was what I was requesting assistance with however felt so relieved that it was understood my problems were with accessing maternity services pre birth.

I received no further communication and approximately 10 days later I discovered all the health care professionals involved in my care were due to attend a case meeting about me and all had been asked about my support network, preparation for my new baby, what I had discussed in confidence with them.

At no point were these questions asked of me and I received no notification of this meeting from peri natal pysch services. (Note Liberating the NHS - no decision about me without me).

Through another health care professional the psych service was contacted and a phone call arranged.

The psychiatrist called me and I expressed my unhappiness at my exclusion in the information gathering about me.

I was advised this is how the service worked. I advised I expected the service to work with me not ask healthcare professionals about me without my knowledge or expressive consent.

Again it was stated this is how we work. I asked what help are you offering and was advised the help on offer was a psych nurse post birth.

This was not what I asked for nor was this agreed at the initial meeting.

I stated I no longer wished to pursue the service on offer and explicitly withdrew my consent to information sharing between health care professionals.

This right is enshrined in case law, the Human Rights Act, NHS guidance, BMA & GMC guidance and NHS Information Governance.

My request was taken to a case meeting and I was refused the basic human right of privacy and an explicit letter detailing everything I had said in confidence to the psychiatrist was sent to all health care professionals involved in my care including my GP practice and obstetrician.

I explicitly denied consent to this.

To add further insult a copy of this letter has not been sent to me as is my right under Department of Health guidance in copying patient's letters.

I now have to pursue this via the Data Protection Act whilst heavily pregnant.

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from Maudsley Hospital

I am very sorry that you had a negative experience of our services and for any distress this may have caused you. We have contacted Perinatal Psychiatry Service and asked them to look into your concerns and how they might be addressed and we will let you know the outcome of this.

In the meantime if you need any further support please do not hesitate to contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service either by email PALS@slam.nhs.uk or by telephone 0800 731 864 (select option 2)

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