"Feeling uncared for by the Home Treatment Team"

About: Crisis resolution (Lambeth)

(as a service user),

After an admission to hospital the HTT refused to take me on, in what I found to be a very rude manner. I had been placed under their care following an overdose. Less than two weeks later I again attempted suicide. I felt I had made my feelings clear to the HTT and they did not act.

I found both of the staff that assessed me in hospital both very rude and unhelpful. One asked the other 'what did she do?' to which she replied '*superficially* cut her wtists', emphasis on the superficially. I think it is very rude and demeaning to speak about someone in that way when they were there and also I think they knew what I had done to be admitted and they were just saying my attempt was not serious.

Actually I was trying to kill myself and was interrupted by police and paramedics. It is not easy to cut your wrists, I am sorry my attempt was so inept. I have self-harmed since then and that comment and other ones by paramedics and police make me feel like cutting more deeply and that I have never sought medical treatment for fear of a similar nasty, dismissive and uncaring reaction so will be left with scars.

I was told that I had said I found it difficult to deal with having 'so many different people' but I never had. The HTT seem fixated on this and to believe that service users think this without even asking them. They may have said something about their being a lot of different faces to which I might have agreed – service users, when vulnerable, can agree to almost anything that is said so as not to seem 'difficult' or go along with what they think the professionals think they 'should' think. I certainly never found this a problem and don't care about the number of different people I see, just how well they do their job. On this, I feel there is a lot of variation. In my opinion some staff are good, some are not and seem just to want to see the service user is alive, give medication, and leave.

I was told that I had not been honest with the HTT which felt like discipline for being a 'bad' service user. Actually I had been.

I don't think the HTT realise how difficult it is to tell people about self-harm or suicidal feelings. I was asked if I would disclose this, and told if I couldn't, they would have to look at hospital which I found very coercive, and only results in the service user not disclosing those thoughts and feelings so is counterproductive. How about instead working with the service user so that they feel they can be honest and that decisions will be made with them about their care? I have had staff disclose my feeling suicidal to other staff, without asking or even telling me. I was terrified of being sectioned and it was a direct result of this unhelpful comment that I did not seek help. Despite this, I did disclose to the HTT that I had self-harmed and nothing was done about this. I asked for another visit that day as this was the first and was refused this. So I think it was unfair to accuse me of not being honest in the first place.

These staff members told me that since I had attempted suicide shortly before I would have been discharged by the HTT, this 'must' have been the reason, and therefore they would be doing me a 'dis'service! I find this utterly ignorant. Suicidality is very complex and I wasn't going to attempt just to continue to get the HTT's care to which I was indifferent at best. The reasons are a lot mopre complex than that. Really, I assure you, the HTT is not that amazing in my opinion and service users are not that childish.

I was told the HTT is a short-term service, I know that, I have mental health problems not learning difficulties. That is all I wanted and needed, to get me through the wobbly period after being discharged from hospital. I tried to explain that I needed someone to talk to and the security of someone being there every day, but was told that the CMHT would be enough care (who did not have an appointment for a week), and that I also had psychotherapy (the waiting list is months and I still have not started). This is utterly not the same thing – I needed a crisis service.

Finally, the HTT lost my medication which they had when I was under them and which they should have returned to me. They did not, and the hospital insist they did not receive the medication either. When I asked about this I was made to feel like a timewaster and told to go to my GP, but I needed sleeping tablets that night (sleep being very important for my mental health) and the GP had already closed.

What I found to be incompetent and uncaring treatment made the period after leaving hospital so much more difficult. I think that the HTT badly need some training in human compassion and in working with those with mental health issues.

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Response from Su Glazier, Head of Improvement, Innovations and Involvement, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

Dear Human Being not just another patient,

This is one of 3 stories you have recently posted on Patient Opinion which appear (although I could be wrong) to make a continuous story of a recent journey you made through our services.

I am really sorry to hear that you have generally had a poor experience of our services although you found some staff to be good. I will forward your stories to the services concerned so they can make a fuller response to you.

In order for me to forward them to the right services, ideally I need to know whether you were seen by the Assessment and Treatment team or the CMHT (or both) as these are two separately managed services at the same address in Streatham. If you know (and I am not necessarily expecting that you will know) I would be really pleased if you could email me at su.glazier@slam.nhs.uk.

In the meantime, you might like to talk though your upsetting experiences with our Patient Liaison and Advice Service (PALS); you can call them on: 0800 731 2864.

Alternatively, rather than me forwarding the postings on to the relevant services, you may wish to make a complaint about your experience which would be formally investigated. If you email me with your name and contact details I could send your postings on to the Complaints department as complaints, if you wanted me to do this.

Best wishes,


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Update posted by Human Being not just another patient (a service user)

Hi Su,

I don't want to comment but the three stories are not necessarily continuous. I don't wish to be identified and I feel I could be from the stories, and that this would achieve nothing and just negatively impact my care. Therefore please don't forward these postings. If you want to take the general points so the teams can learn from them then you could do so but I really don't want the entire stories to be passed on.

best wishes,

Human Being