"Leeds Crisis Resolution Team"

About: Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust / Crisis resolution

Posted by Cameron (as a friend),

I have just been talking to my friend who lives in Leeds and suffers with severe, enduring and relapsing mental illness. She is becoming extremely distressed and I am very concerned for her welfare.

I have asked her to check her Care Plan, which specifies she should contact NHS Direct in a crisis. We have both searched for and tried numbers for Leeds Crisis Resolution, as I do not believe she is well enough to go through the protracted process of an NHS Direct consultation, but have been greeted by dead lines, ringing out and answerphone messages.

She finally left a voicemail at the Becklin Centre in Leeds where the team is based, and was still waiting for a call back over an hour later. She has just rung again and been told 'they have a lot on this evening'.

I believe it is unacceptable to leave a person suffering with Schizophrenia in such a state of distress for such a long time. It seems almost cruel and unusual to make severely ill people wait in this way. Also, she sees a community mental health nurse at very irregular, and sometimes protracted intervals. I would have thought weekly or bi-weekly at least was appropriate for someone in such distress.

I welcome your comments before we take further action.

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Responses

Response from Guy Brookes, Associate Medical Director - Adult Services, Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust on 16/05/2011 at 16:13 We have made a change

Dear Cameron

Thank you for taking the time to alert us to this difficult situation. I am sorry that you and your friend have had such difficulty using your Care Plan to access help.

My name is Guy Brookes and I am Associate Medical Director for Adult Mental Health services provided by Leeds Partnerships NHS Foundation trust.

Among other things, Care Plans are intended to provide information for service users, their friends and their families on how to get appropriate help when needed. Often this isn’t best provided through NHS Direct and there are several other local services (as well as The Crisis Resolution Home Treatment Team) who can help. The Becklin Centre houses several different services and it may be difficult to get through the right place if you have not been given full details.

I have contacted the Crisis Resolution Home Treatment Team to see if they can directly arrange for someone to visit your friend but they are unable to identify them. However, from your description it appears that your friend does need someone to visit them.

From the information given on your posting it is difficult for us to fully understand what has happened to leave you and your friend feeling so vulnerable and unsupported. Also, it seems that it would be useful for us to be able to get in touch with someone who could visit and discuss with your friend what help is needed. In order for us to do this I wonder if you would be kind enough to contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) who can take your details and get in touch with the professionals needed to help you.

Their contact details are: PALS freephone number 0800 0525 790 / 0113 3056620 or by email to pals@leedspft.nhs.uk.

Alternatively you could phone your Care Co-ordinator who will have provided your friend with their number and they will arrange to visit. It would, however, be useful for us to hear more about yours and your friend’s experience through PALS so that we can work to prevent this happening again.

I hope that the current situation improves for you and again thank you for your posting.

Guy Brookes

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Update posted by Cameron (a friend) on 16/11/2011 at 04:16

Appalled again by the service my friend has received over the last week.

My friend has just had her anti-psychotic medication changed, is now on 2 weekly visits from her CPN.

However, she was deeply in crisis and I believe has started tooverdose. I tried to find the number for the Crisis Resolution Team at the Becklin Centre, which I did, and phoned it only to have the same response she did - a ring out. What is the point of putting numbers on the care plans of very ill individuals when there is no response ? It seems cruel and unusual for a lady in her position to have no one she can contact when in crisis.

Instead, I was forced to ring 999 and get the paramedics to check on her. I would have imagined that when a patient is prescribed a new medication it would be good practice to ensure that she is regularly reviewed by psychiatrist, CMHT and GP. It seems to me she has been left to drift and is suffering correspondingly. Is it policy to leave severely ill patients without a crisis number which works, a CPN who attends every two weeks (!) and what is in my opinion a frankly poor service.

Instead it is left to her friends to manage her condition, for which we are not qualified. I believe her CPN should attend regularly with the prescription of new meds - I will not tolerate this any further. I am sick of my friends care, which I would describe as being fragmented, confusing and frankly poor.

This should be raised with all stakeholders in the trust and dealt with. I will not stand by and see my friend receive care which quite frankly is appalling.

Yours Sincerely

Cameron

Response from Guy Brookes, Associate Medical Director - Adult Services, Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust on 18/11/2011 at 09:45 We are preparing to make a change

Dear Cameron,

On reading your posting I was disappointed that following your contact earlier this year your friend continues to have difficulty accessing help when needed. I have discussed your concerns with the Crisis Resolution Home Treatment Team today as I did six months ago. The team are confident that if one of their phones used to take referrals or calls from service users had been called there would have been a response or, at the very least, the option to leave an answer phone message so that someone could return your call promptly. I am a little worried that the service you used to find the number might have given one that was not appropriate.

All care plans and “crisis plans” need to be developed to address service users’ unique needs. There should always be the opportunity to contact the Community Mental Health Team within working hours but further details would need to reflect people’s individual needs and preferences. This means that it is not sensible for me to suggest an appropriate plan without knowing your friend and their needs well. However, it should never be the case that friends or family are left to meet the needs that should be the work of mental health professionals.

In order to help us to provide your friend with a more useful plan, could I suggest that either you or preferably your friend contacts our Patient Advocacy and Liaison service (PALS) so that they can contact your care co-ordinator and help articulate your shared concern? The care co-ordinator would be best placed to work with your friend (and you if your friend would like) to agree a “crisis plan” in which they had confidence.

Should you wish to contact PALS, their details are: 0113 3056620 or freephone 0800 0525 790 or alternatively email to pals.lpft@nhs.net. Alternatively your friend could contact their care co-ordinator or Community Mental Health Team directly if preferred.

Beyond this instance PALS can help you and your friend to express your views so that mental health professionals can more readily meet your needs. I would hope therefore that you or your friend would feel able to contact them in the near future.

I am aware that this reply is 2 days after your posting but I hope that we can help resolve the current difficulties you both face.

As previously, thank you for making us aware of this issue.

Guy Brookes,

Associate Medical Director for Adult Mental Health Services.

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