"Unhappy with telephone call - lack of informed..."
About: West London Mental Health NHS Trust West London Mental Health NHS Trust Southall UB1 3EU
I was called by a mental health professional who wanted to ask me some questions because I was new to the service. I found some of the questions intrusive and deeply personal for a telephone conversation without a clear rationale for asking them. I was also asked a question about a traumatic event that I did not want to go into detail about, and was asked three times for an answer when I had already made it clear that I did not want to disclose that particular information about my past traumatic experience, which made me very upset on the phone, only to have the caller rush onto the next question when I was clearly upset. I tolerated the questions in order to ask if I now was able to get an appointment for my psychiatric assessment and then they told me "this is the psychiatric assessment". I explained that I was unhappy that I was not informed at the start of the conversation that this was an assessment and the caller apologised. However, I am still disturbed by the fact that I never consented to this psychiatric assessment over the phone, because I was never informed that that's what it was in the first place! So no informed consent, and I had to ask the mental health nurse what their role was, because they hadn't introduced them-self fully.
I understand that mental health services are stretched to the limit and that this is an ongoing problem, however the rationale for the conversation should have been clearly stated and my informed consent obtained at the beginning (and therefore made the conversation much more straightforward and less time consuming for both of us!) I think that when some individuals are vulnerable this sort of conversation could really push them over the edge, so they should be informed so that this is an assessment, and that personal questions may be asked to gain a clearer picture of their current condition. This would greatly improve the current service with no cost or extra time involved.