"Bad experience of Crisis Team"

About: Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust / Crisis resolution

(as the patient),

I was referred to the Crisis Team by my Psychiatrist as I'm struggling to cope with my Bipolar diagnosis and have been signed off work for 2 months. I had an initial assessment with the crisis team and felt like I was being told things rather than it being a discussion. She was quite insistent on giving me more medication but after I was reluctant she agreed to discuss with my psychiatrist and we'd discuss the next day. They wanted contact every day and agreed that this could be a mixture of phone calls and in person. I came out of the hour long assessment feeling very overwhelmed, I'd signed things I didn't really know what, and called my partner in tears and having a panic attack.

About 20:30 pm that night I received a phone call from a new person at the crisis team telling me my prescription was ready. This is not what I'd agreed to at all and in fact was the first time I was told what the drug was that they wanted me to take. I explained my confusion to the lady on the phone and she agreed that I could discuss it during the phone call the next day. I was clearly upset on the phone and she apologised for the confusion.

The next day I waiting for a phone call from them. The lady I spoke with said she'd call in the afternoon so from 12:00 pm I waited. By 18:00 pm I still hadn't heard anything and couldn't do anything in case I missed the call so I called the crisis team number I had to find out what was happening and was told by the man on the other end that he would call them and get them to call me.

Eventually I had the phone call at 20:45 pm and by that time I was incredibly anxious and on edge. I had to repeat myself at least 10 times that I had found the whole process so far too intense, overwhelming and stressful. She agreed that I could remove myself from their care and would consult my psychiatrist the next day and let me know what happens next.

Now I had authorised the crisis team to speak to my mother and my partner so my mother called up the next day so she could understand what was actually going on and what other options there were.

I haven't heard anything else from anyone of the crisis team - no update on the outcome of the meeting with my psychiatrist. My mother has however, had 2 voice mails which we presume are meant for me. One of them says that I have been handed over to another team but that's all the information I have.

I am incredibly frustrated and upset that a team called the crisis team have given me an unbearable week and caused more problems.

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Response from Trevor Lyalle, PALS Manager, Patient Advice and Liaison Service, Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust


Thank you for your posting. We are sorry to see that you are dissatisfied with the care provided by the Crisis Resolution Home Treatment Team and that you felt that you were not involved in your care. Please contact me so that we can discuss this further and provide you with a full response. Alternatively, you could contact your local Healthwatch organisation for assistance.Details can be found on our website www.berkshirehealthcare.nhs.uk

Yours Sincerely,

Trevor Lyalle

Patient Advice & Liaison Service

Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Tel: 0118 9605027 e mail: bht@berkshire.nhs.uk

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Update posted by cosima (the patient)

Sadly I have more to add to this story now :

A few days later, I had an agreed phone-call with my Dr to arrange more medication but because I didn’t know what was going on with this new team my Dr was reluctant to give me more than a fortnights worth (which is completely understandable).

I agreed to call the Duty Team/Crisis Team to find out more information, no one could speak to me straight away so I left a message and had a call back the next day. I explained that I didn’t know what the new team was and what they offered and asked the man to explain more about the service – he couldn’t tell me what the Short Term team did and instead said he’d get the crisis team to call me. I was incredibly upset that I was just being passed along to another person and still had no idea what the service that is supposedly looking after me provided. I called my mum who left work to come look after me as I was so frustrated and didn’t want to be alone.

Later that afternoon a lady called me from the Crisis team; after repeating myself several times and getting upset yet again, I explained I just wanted to know what the Short Term team did and finally she was able to explain it to me. She agreed that I wouldn’t be under the Crisis Team’s care anymore and that someone from the Short Term Team would contact me soon.

A few days later (on the Friday), I had a phone call from the Manager of the Short Term Team. She explained that she’d heard what had been going on and wanted to make sure I had the answers I was after. This was the first time I truly felt that someone was listening to me and trying to help. She told me that I had been assigned to someone who would call me to arrange a meeting and that she would be talking to her when they were both in on Tuesday of the next week.

Finally on Thursday, I heard from the lady I had been assigned to. She sounded really fed up on the phone and told me that she’d been on duty and had been really busy so couldn’t have called me any sooner. I felt like I was an inconvenience and that she didn’t want to be on the phone to me. She told me the first day she could see me could be Wednesday or Friday of the following week so I agreed to an appointment on the Wednesday. I am only signed off work until the end of April so I felt that Friday would be too late.

The day before my appointment I had a missed call and thankfully they called the house phone and left a message with my mum. The message was that she had a family emergency and could no longer make the Wednesday so could see me on Friday instead. While I understand that you can’t predict these things, I feel frustrated that there’s no other options like being assigned to someone else.

To add to my frustration, my boyfriend has finally received information about a Carers assessment that I put him forward for about 3 months ago. I was told at the time that it could be a service to help support him and give him advice but the paperwork he received says there is no help given to Carers after the 31st March (the letter was dated 20th April). At my last appointment (in March) I was reminded of the Carers service so I’m angry that I was never told this would be ending. Why offer me a service that they actually can’t provide.

If any of these issues had happened in isolation that I could get over it and brush it off as one of those things but the fact that every single time I’ve had to deal with anyone from this service (apart from maybe 2 conversations) I have been left more upset, angry, frustrated and anxious has given me a very negative view on the whole service.

I feel like I just want to tell them all to just leave me alone.