"I feel there is a real problem with the crisis team's approach"

About: Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust / Crisis resolution

(as the patient),

For some people this service may work but I find it horrific.

In the Camden teams the majority of staff I have encountered have been male (the ratio has been 3: 1 in the past). In my opinion, they have few telephone counselling skills but at night you are told to ring them but after a couple of attempts I no longer wanted to. They didn't come out and they told me they were very busy and to go to A&E if I needed help.

I found the Samaritans so much more professional, I believe they have significantly better training and will give you time and listen. On one occasion (in the days when I tried to call) I was hearing voices telling me to overdose. I was terrified and asked the crisis team worker what I should do. They told me they didn't have time to talk to me as had listened for 10 minutes and had to be elsewhere and I could either go to A&E or take all the tablets - it was up to me. I couldn't manage and took a major overdose, did not alert anyone and was then found unconscious on the street.

I feel there is particularly an attitude towards women in crisis. As a woman I don't feel safe working with them so would rather be admitted to hospital. It does not surprise me that while ward suicides go down in number, suicides of patients under crisis team care has risen dramatically. And I understand that this borough has the highest suicide rate in the country.

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Responses

Response from Karl Heidel, Head of Communications and Engagement, Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust

Dear Apt

On behalf of Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust I would like to apologise profusely that it has taken so long to respond to your comments. This site was not being monitored by C&I’s Communications Team. However, it is now. I am new in post and have ensured correct processes are in place to ensure a timely response to all future complaints or comments.

I have passed your comments onto the relevant department and received the following response from the team:

We are sorry that you had such a difficult experience of using our crisis services. You describe not feeling listened to or supported in your telephone contacts with the service. You also said that you would have preferred to speak to a woman, but a woman was not available.

We expect all of our crisis team members to have telephone counselling skills to the extent that they can talk to anyone in distress in a helpful way. This clearly did not happen in your case.

Your comments about our crisis team have been taken very seriously and your comments have been shared with the team. We also encourage you to express your concerns to our Complaints team who are waiting for your call should you decide to get in touch. You can contact the team on 020 3317 3117 or you can email feedback@candi.nhs.uk.

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