"Just keep me informed about the delay in treatment for my eating disorder"

About: April House

(as the patient),

I was referred to April house by the adult mental health team. I attended an assessment and it was agreed that I should start treatment at April house.

Having been diagnosed and "accepted" for treatment, I was discharged from the adult mental health team on the assumption that I would begin treatment a few weeks later. That was six months ago and I'm still waiting.

My dietician contacted April house to say my condition had worsened and could I be seen sooner. Unfortunately, my GP was contacted to confirm what the dietician had said. That would have been okay, if my GP had ever talked to me about my eating disorder!

I guess my reason for writing this is that six months ago, with a mental health team behind me, my eating problems were out in the open. Every week I had someone to push me to go for treatment. Now I have no one to push, or ask... it’s more secretive. I haven't died, I’m back in the "I’m fine " zone. It seems to me, eating disorders are not a priority to the NHS.

That’s not the fault of April house, but I do think it needs to be made clearer how long after assessment the wait will be. Maybe some form of email or telephone contact would be good, just something to stop people feeling like an unimportant number!

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Responses

Response from Ben Prior, Complaints and PALS Officer, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you very much for sharing your feedback regarding the length of time it is taking to be seen at April House following being "accepted" for treatment. I am sorry for the amount of time it is taking for treatment at April House to commence and that you feel unsupported following being discharged from the Adult Mental health team some months ago.

I have passed your comments on to the Team Manager at April House and am currently awaiting there response, which I will post in reply. In the meantime please do not hesitate to contact the Complaints & Patient Advice and Liaison team on 023 8087 4065 or via email at the following address hp-tr.Complaints@nhs.net to discuss this directly.

Kind regards

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Response from Ben Prior, Complaints and PALS Officer, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust

Following your initial post, I have contacted the Team Manager at April House for her comments. She has advised the following:-

Unfortunately our treatment waiting list is currently approximately 8 months. As an organisation, we are aware of this and are doing everything we can to reduce this to a more acceptable waiting time. We have recently advertised two additional therapy posts which we hope to fill within the next few months and these Therapists will focus entirely on reducing the waiting times.

Your comment on keeping contact with people who are waiting is very helpful. In the past, we have written to all those on our waiting list asking them to let us know if they still wish to be seen. This helps us to stay connected to our service users well as manage our waiting list – It can help us to identify those who no longer feel that they need to access our service, which then means we can see those who do in a timelier manner. As a service we have thought about doing this on a regular basis and it sounds from your posting that you think this might be helpful.

We would also advise anyone who feels that their situation is deteriorating, whilst they are on our waiting list, to see their GP for a review who can then liaise with our service.

Kind regards

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