"Access to Crisis Support"

About: Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust

This Trust is really really awful. They will only respond to this posting as it is on a public site. Thy will say contact us on this feedback e mail and we will look in to it. They don't. Neither do they respond to complaints. Their crisis teams are dangerous and incompetent.Often when you call the crisis line it is an answerphone. Other times they will tell you to go to A&E where in 2/3 MH safe areas the CQC have found the places of safety to be unsafe. The Royal Free has ligature points. At Royal Free and UCLH they have NO nurse staff just security staff there. You can be there as a voluntary patient ( ie not sectioned) for over 12 hrs. Sometimes more. They make no attempt to find you somewhere to lie down as they would in physical health. Ring Camden crisis teams and you will rarely get a woman if you need one. My sister will only speak to female workers in crisis as she has a history of abuse. When she is very unwell a male crisis worker will trigger her symptoms making her more suicidal. C&I know this and they say on other sites that they always direct to a female worker when no crisis team woman available but when you ring they just say no women available. I have challenged them and they just say basically, tough - go to A&E. They don't come out to people at night or even in the day if you have not been formally referred. You are meant to be able to refer yourself but try it and they will still direct you to A&E which is an awful place to be in a MH crisis. They will respond here as if this is an anomaly. It is not. It is the norm for this Trust and even CQC acknowledge this now in report of June 2016. Someone in our carers group said the Samaritans should be given the night time support role instead of this team - in fact that is what the crisis team members often say 'ring the Samaritans'. I don't know anyone who thinks there is a crisis service in Camden and in our carers group we have lost people to suicide because the crisis team that gatekeeps beds couldn't find one in time.

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Response from Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for taking the time to write about your experience of the Crisis Services provided by Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust. We are sorry that your experience has not been positive and acknowledge the concerns you have raised, the Trust welcomes feedback so that we can continually learn in order to improve our services.

In regard to the issues you have raised:

- The feedback email communicates directly to our Advice and Complaints Service who endeavour to identify the correct staff member to respond in a prompt manner. Complainants are commonly met in person to discuss concerns and we apologise if this is not the standard you have received.


The Crisis Line is operated 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. This service does experience peak times with a high volume of calls and as such there may be a delay in speaking to a clinician. The voicemail facility is optional, however Crisis Line staff will respond to all messages left on the same day.


As a service we are aware of the issues raised by the CQC in June 2016 and are actively working with our colleagues in the acute hospitals you mention to improve the standards of these facilities.


Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust provides a 24 hour psychiatric liaison service to the Accident and Emergency Departments of The Royal Free Hospital, University College Hospital, and the Whittington Hospital. All psychiatric liaison teams are staffed by registered mental health nurses and psychiatrists. There are security staff within each of the acute hospitals which are provided for the hospital as a whole. Sometimes they may be based in the emergency department and are needed to maintain the security of the department as a whole.


It is standard protocol within the teams for a gender specific worker to be provided at the request of a patient. We apologise if this has not occurred for your sister and would encourage that the details of such an occasion are provided for investigation.


It is concerning that instruction has been provided to attend the emergency department, again with further information this matter could be investigated to establish if this was appropriate advice or if an alternative should have been provided.


Currently Crisis Resolution Teams are able to provide home treatment between the hours of 8am and 9pm. As a service we are aware that our operational hours may need adjusting and we are considering how to implement change in order to better support patients.


Lastly to confirm, all Crisis Resolution Teams accept self-referrals and aim to provide an assessment within 24 hours of the initial contact.

Thank you again for taking the time to write about the Crisis Services in Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust. Should you wish to discuss these matters further please contact Debbie May, Operational Manager – Crisis and Liaison Teams, on 020 7561 4164 or debbie.may@candi.nhs.uk

Debbie May, Operational Manager – Crisis and Liaison Teams