"An opportunity missed"

Bad memories of the assessment ward 2015, first impressions were distopian. Old plastic mugs only option for tea. Luke warm water does not kill germs or brew tea, so we drink grey slush, taste of deteriorating plastic lingers on the taste-buds, probably cancerous molecules from the plastic residue. Someone with puss leaking from his legs offers me one of these slush drinks from the warm tap, this is our therapy while we are on the unit. I was going through cold-turkey from nicotine but no supplements were suggested. Bad temper would be 400% worse coming off nicotine that quickly. Hardly a scientific assessment of my current mental health then. Do not attempt to jog off anxiety when going through nicotine withdrawal, you will be surrounded by nurses and injected in the buttocks with tranquilizer, nobody will leave you a print out to tell you what is now in your body, no discussion, no time when your jogging is a medical emergency. Access to a jogging machine would reduce long stays in hospital, it's not rocket science.

I wanted to self medicate with 75mg of quetiapine and nicorette quick mist. In a modern world where life style is customized to suit changing needs it was alarming that my medication was destroyed, I wasn't allowed to self medicate in hospital. If your family can slow down for one second and be mindful of your needs before rushing you into A&E you could avoid feeling like a Zoo animal. Things only felt better once moved to another ward. The Psychiatrist in the assessment ward offered me 800mg quetiapine which was an 800% increase even though a few years back I reported bad heart palpitations on 300% of my optimum dose when I am in a true sanctuary like the park or library. Self knowledge is of no value once you reach a&e, you receive the same treatment whether you are a murderer, athlete, or have a disability. Politically fair but surely someone who eats the biscuits but not the fruit has radically different dosage needs than someone who swims, does yoga, plays a musical instrument, and has high capability to communicate. A poor entry lead to significantly worse mental health and a flippant waste of NHS money due to not trusting the customer and rushing through a bloated process leading to a 12 week stay when supported accommodation was available after week 4. I have been told you prologue your stay by 'not playing the game'. If the original consultation was with a counselor, not Psychiatrist, upfront and away from my family members I would have faith but I feel strongly that this assessment ward does more harm than good. If you can declare your bedroom a safe zone and get a social worker to visit regularly, ban anti-social people from your life rather than enter this plastic world.

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Response from The Ladywell Unit

I am responding to your recent post and am very sorry that you had a negative experience of our services on Ladywell Unit and for any distress this may have caused you. We have contacted the service and asked them to look into your concerns and how they might be addressed. 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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