"I was treated with respect at St Helen's walk in centre"

About: Halton and St Helens PCT

(as the patient),

I unfortunately had to go to the St Helens Walk-in Centre on Wednesday evening to have stitches after cutting my leg quite badly through self harm.

I have never had a bad experience here when I've needed medical attention after harming myself, but that didn't stop the nerves setting in; I haven't needed medical attention for over a year so I was worried about how they would treat me.

Reception staff were friendly. The only thing that ever bothers me about booking in at reception is having to give all personal details in earshot of everyone else. Then comes the worst question that gets your heart pounding "What's the problem? ".

Luckily for me, it was near closing and the waiting room was empty. I also just stated I had a "wound" that needed seeing to... no specifics, but still, it's a very personal question to be asked.

I was triaged straight away by Jenny. I was honest with her about how I'd hurt my leg and watched for her face to drop when I mentioned self harm. Her face didn't drop though. She didn't frown or sigh. She simply carried on as she would anybody else. After taking a look at the wound and asking me a few questions she reapplied a dressing and asked me to have a seat in the waiting room.

Less than 5 minutes later I was called back through to have stitches. Tony was doing these, with Jenny's help. Again I watched for his face. Nothing. Neither of them treated me any differently than they would have done had I been in with an accidental injury. I felt at ease after a while, I didn't feel stupid or belittled. I didn't come away feeling that the staff had wasted their time with me.

I had 11 stitches and was given appropriate advice for the next few days and regarding removal of the sutures.

Thank you so much to Jenny and Tony who treated me on Wednesday evening - you probably don't realise how much difference you made to my mixed feelings about seeking medical attention. Thank you for treating me with respect, treating me as a person with feelings, rather than just another 'self-harmer'. I'll not forget the way you treated me and it's lovely to know that there are people like you working in our Walk-in Centre!

Thank you: )

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