"Upset at skelmersdale walk-In centre"

About: The Skelmersdale Walk in Centre

(as the patient),

As a long term sufferer with mental health problems, I frequently self-harm by cutting. When the damage becomes unpleasant enough to live with, I used to pop into a walk-in centre for a little reassurance and to have the wounds dressed to prevent infection and also reduce the pain.

After much pressure from my wife to attend a drop-in centre recently I went to Skelmersdale Walk-In Centre and arrived late afternoon. I tried the door to discover it was locked, and after reading that the last admission was 4pm but assessment/treatment would be given at the practioner's discretion, and so rang the intercom.

I tried to explain I had some 'damage' to my arm - without going into detail over an intercom which any passer by could have eavesdropped on. After being asked what sort of damage I was forced to explain it was self-harm - after which I was told by the lady that someone would come to the door. After waiting a few seconds, a voice came over the intercom saying the centre was closed and I had to go to Accident and Emergency. I was so surprised no-one had even bothered to look at or speak to me briefly I just said 'Thank you very much' and walked off and went home in tears.

I sent letter of complaint to the PALS section of the PCT concerned and someone phoned the next morning to ask how I was and get some more details as to what had happened. They agreed it was not the correct approach and told me they would ring the walk-in centre and get someone to ring me.

Needless to say, I have received no subsequent phone call. I am of the opinion that I should at least have been looked at however briefly, and that my mention of mental health and self-harm reduced my chances of this care being provided.

It is important for staff to realise that for some of us - engaging with services is difficult enough, and for some they may be at the end of their tether. I was left to walk off into the rain in pain and distress.

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