"Upsetting appointment with Community MH nurse"

About: Ayrshire & Arran Community Services / Elderly Community Mental Health Service Lanarkshire Community Services / Old Age Psychiatry

(as a relative),

My mum was diagnosed with Alzheimers 3 years ago. She has been getting worse, so we made the decision to move her from her home in Lanarkshire, to a flat near us in Ayrshire. The care she had in Lanarkshire was always great – kind, caring and compassionate. At the suggestion of her GP, I also arranged to get Power of Attorney over her affairs, so that I can be involved and be able to take on more as her mental health deteriorates.

Unfortunately, my mum stashes the letters she gets, so I was unaware that she was having a visit from the Ayrshire mental health team. I had a phone call from a woman to say that they were outside my mum’s house unable to get in. The person I spoke with was rude, complaining it was cold outside and that they had lots of appointments to get to. I said I would rush over immediately, and they could ring the buzzer which would eventually wake my mother.

When I arrived, the Community Mental Health Nurse was with my mother, she rudely told me that I would have to wait outside while she spoke to my mother. I explained that I had Power of Attorney and had all the history of my mum’s care. I’ve been to every appointment, I know everything about her care and I needed to be there. She told me I could only stay if my mum agreed. This really upset my mum, who didn’t understand what was happening and suddenly thought I was being cheeky to her visitors (rather than trying to support her and make sure I was in the room). The nurse then asked my mum if she wanted me there, and of course she said she did! Why couldn’t the nurse just have started by checking if my mum was happy for me to be there, rather than causing so much upset! ?

So, I sat quietly by, while they assessed my mum. The nurse’s colleague was lovely and kind, and did her assessment well. I have no concerns about her manner. However, I felt the main nurse was rude and patronising. When she spoke to me, she called my mum “Mum”, rather than by her name.

I asked if they has my mother’s mental health notes from Lanarkshire, they didn’t. They didn’t know she even had notes! These notes explain all my mum’s history, and I am concerned that they haven’t come with my mum in her move the Ayrshire.

After the appointment, reminded me that Power of Attorney might be useful for banks, but it didn’t have any standing with the health service, and it didn’t give me say over my mum’s care. I felt that she was bringing this up again unnecessarily. It felt like an attack.

My mum was left distressed by the visit. She is generally anxious, and finds it hard to accept that she needs help. That is why it’s so important that we get kind and sympathetic support.

I have moved her here to be near me, but she had such good care before, I am now worried about the care she will get here in Ayrshire. The nurse said she would talk to my mum’s doctor, but I’m not confident that she will. I’m left feeling really worried about my mum’s care from here on. I’m certain I don’t want her to be looked after by this community nurse again! I feel we’ve had appalling care.

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Response from Derek Barron, Associate Nurse Director, Mental Health Services, NHS Ayrshire and Arran

picture of Derek Barron

Dear tjam

I am very disappointed to hear of your experience, this is not how we aspire to provide care to either you or your mum.

To allow us to follow this up and identify where this happened (which of the three Ayrshire areas) and to follow up your post, I'd be grateful of you could contact Susanne in my office on 01294 317800.

I apologies for the upset and distress to you and your mum.


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Response from Eunice Goodwin, Patient Feedback Manager for NHS Ayrshire and Arran, Quality Improvement and Governance Team, NHS Ayrshire and Arran

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Dear tjam,

On reading your story, I was saddened by you and your Mum’s experience. Like Derek I found it very concerning and we don’t want you to have this experience again either. I would also like to encourage you to contact us. If you prefer contacting us by email, you can email me at eunice.goodwin@aapct.scot.nhs.uk and I will ensure Derek gets the information to follow up your post.

Thank you for taking the time to tell us about it.

Kind regards,


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Response from Patricia Rhodie, Service Manager, Mental Health Services North West, NHS Lanarkshire

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Dear Tjam.

I am concerned that you feel the appropriate information about your mum's care may not have been passed on from NHS Lanarkshire to our colleagues in Ayrshire.

While it is not common practice to transfer case notes across board areas I would have expected that a summary letter would have been completed in order to advise your mum's new care providers of her care and treatment to date.

In order to look into this I would appreciate further details.If you could e-mail me at patricia.rhodie@lanarkshire.scot.nhs.uk I will certainly look into this further.

I am sorry for any distress caused to you and your mum by this apparent lack of communication.

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