"My lack of psychological input at Berrywood Hospital, and the false information they have provided to me on discharge"

About: Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust / Adult mental health

(as the patient),

Background information:

I had recently moved to London to start a new life but had found myself in a particularly abusive and violent relationship and going through a very emotionally difficult time which had been problematic on and off in my life for some years.

Earlier this year I began to experience the final stages of a breakdown and very strong suicidal feelings. I was treated in London under the Waltham Forest Home Treatment Team for suspected ‘Bi Polar Disorder’. I was given anti-psychotics, anti depressants and a benzodiazepine. My mental health did not improve, but I did find the help and support of my Psychologist, Aj was helping me to come to terms with some of my thoughts, feelings and behaviours.

After two suicide attempts I spent some time in Naseberry Court, an acute mental health assessment unit. I was helped greatly by Aj whilst I was in this unit on a number of occasions and was eventually discharged with a diagnosis of ‘Borderline Personality Disorder’ and returned to Northampton. I was advised not to continue any anti-psychotic medication as it did not improve the condition but was put on to a waiting list for psychological intervention within a personality disorder team in Northampton. I was also assigned a psychiatrist and a care coordinator within Northampton CMHT at Campbell House.

Six weeks later I was still in a crisis period and attempted suicide. After three days in Northampton General Hospital I was admitted into Berrywood Hospital for 9 days.

I am currently on no medication for my mental health having been told that it does not improve my disorder by numerous Psychiatrists and mental health workers, but that short and long term psychological intervention was the key to improving the condition.

I am currently only on medication for physical health concerns. These were the only medications that I took whilst in Berrywood Hospital.

The Complaint

On admission to Berrywood Hospital I was told that I would be seeing a psychologist within the next couple of days and that this appointment would be booked the following day. After a discussion with one of the doctors it was decided that this is the treatment that would benefit me the most. I decided not to continue with my anti depressant as from past experiences they had also worsened my mental health.

During the next week that I spent on Harbour Ward I would ask various members of staff when I would be seeing a psychologist. I never once demanded to see a psychologist but did enquire daily and did feel that it would benefit me greatly as it had done in the past.

I was frustrated talking to the other patients on the ward as for their period of crisis it seemed to me that they were being given what they needed; Medication daily to help them to cope. I was not being given the treatment that I obviously needed – psychological intervention. I understand that my admission provided a safe place to stay but feel that the lack of psychological treatment ensured my stay was literally just a holding period with no other input.

It came to the day of my discharge and I had not seen a psychologist at all in the 9 days since my admission.

On entering into the ‘discharge meeting’ with a doctor I had never met before and a senior member of the team, there were two other men in the room. I was not introduced to them or informed as to who they were. I would have liked to have known who these other people were that were witnessing very personal information regarding my mental health.

My discussion with the doctor who I'd not met before became quite heated as information regarding psychology waiting list times and my frustration and questioning as to why I hadn’t seen a psychologist whilst on the ward could not be answered satisfactorily. The doctor then made comments which directed me to feel that they were trying to see if I was suffering from paranoia just because I was saying that I had felt that I had been lied to.

I was given answers such as, ‘You’re not the only patient in this hospital that needs to see a psychologist. ’ ‘This is a big hospital you know ’, ‘we only have two psychologists', ‘you’ve been talking to the nursing staff haven’t you about your problems?’ - I felt they were all avoidance answers, it seemed in some way to cover up the fact that I hadn’t been given the treatment that I was promised.

The senior member of the team on the ward was very eager to go into the office to chase up when they made the referral for me to psychology and came back into the room to inform me that it was made by them on the day after I was admitted.

The conversation kept going around in circles as they couldn’t answer my simple question or admit that my treatment hadn’t been followed up properly. The doctor I'd not met before this meeting suggested that we needed to decide what was going to happen in moving forward. They asked the senior member of the ward team to chase up when the next available appointment with psychology would be and said that if it was within the next few days that I could stay within the ward and be seen by them then. They said that the other option, which I feel they were pushing me towards, would be to get discharged from hospital on that day and that I would be provided with four follow up appointments with the psychologist which I would have to come back to the ward for in the proceeding weeks as a type of out-patient. Either way I was going to be seen by a psychologist and I had to make a decision as to what I wanted to do.

They asked me to leave the room and to decide what I would prefer to do whilst the senior member of the ward team made contact with the psychology department.

Over an hour later this person took me into the activity room to ask what my decision was. They told me that the psychologist was on holiday currently but that they would have an appointment for me on the following Thursday. I feel that I was encouraged by this person to agree to be discharged from the ward and be prepared to come back almost a week later for the first of four psychology appointments.

I left the ward an hour later and was given a sealed envelope with my NHT Discharge Summary inside.

When I opened the letter I was horrified to see that the GP detailed on the form was an old GP that I hadn’t been registered with for almost four years. I then read completely inaccurate information regarding my ‘summary of admission’ by a doctor that I have never met.

I can only think that this was detailed this way because obviously a doctor I had never met could not possibly know the correct information about me. It's my opinion that the people in my disharge meeting were covering their own professional backs as I would later find out that they had given false information about what would be happening after my discharge and I believe they were very aware that they were pushing me towards an immediate discharge to suit them.

I have a few concerns with my discharge summary:

• I have never met the doctor that signed it off

• Information about my overdose was either incorrect or misleading

• There was a mistake about me having been 'transferred' from London to Berrywood, this is not the case.

• The summary said that I had reported the reason for my recent illness as something that I hadn't.

• It was written in the summary that I had 'demanded psychotherapy whilst in the hospital' – I did ask daily when I would be seeing a psychologist as this is what I was lead to believe would by happening during my admission

• The summary said that I decided to 'discharge myself despite explaining further treatment options'. I do not believe I discharged myself – I felt that I was coerced into doing this

• I was not explained any further treatment options – the doctor suggested that we needed to decide what was going to happen in moving forward. They asked the senior member of the ward team to chase up when the next available appointment with psychology would be.

My discharge should have explained that I was admitted as an informal patient and that I was in a period of crisis having previously been assessed in an acute mental health unit and had returned to Northampton with a diagnosis of ‘Borderline Personality Disorder’. I had been on sick leave from my job and trying to deal, unsuccessfully, with a number of various emotional problems for some time. It should have mentioned that I was suffering with suicidal ideation but that my suicidal thoughts had settled towards the end of my admission . It should certainly have detailed that I received no psychological input whilst in the hospital. I expected it to also explain that the commitment made on my discharge was that I would be provided with four short term psychological interventions commencing on [date agreed] as discussed with the doctor and confirmed by the senior member of the ward team. It should have been signed by the doctor treating me.

Background Information – subsequent to the complaint

On leaving Berrywood Hospital I made contact with my care co-ordinator. They agreed that the options the doctor had given me, as detailed above, were also detailed on my patient notes as they had accessed and read these for themself. They commented that they felt that this was not be a usual option given to patients whilst in Berrywood Hospital and felt that it was quite an odd situation. They made contact with the ward on my behalf in mid September who had no record of any psychologist appointments for the date we had agreed, but did find out that the psychologist was in fact only back off of annual leave on this date.

A week later, I met with my care coordinator again for our weekly meeting. I asked if they had heard anything further from Berrywood Hospital with regards to my psychology appointments. They said that they hadn’t and suggested that I ring the ward myself using their office phone.

I called the Ward and the senior member of the ward team who had been in my discharge meeting answered the telephone. After asking about an item of clothing that I had left on the ward I asked them if anything had been secured for my psychology appointments. They replied that my psychology input now lies with the CMHT, and that it was nothing to do with them - that I would need to speak to my care coordinator.

I explained that I was sitting with my care coordinator as we spoke and that they had asked me to call and chase the matter up. This person again told me that it was nothing to do with the ward anymore and to get my care coordinator to sort out my psychology input. I didn’t want to argue with them and ended the conversation as I sense that the person was very eager to get off of the telephone.

I explained to my care coordinator what this person had said and they confirmed once again that this was not right as it was detailed on my patient care notes what had been agreed at discharge. I asked them what I should do as I wasn’t happy to just leave the matter there and they suggested that I write a letter of complaint. They also explained that the doctor who had been at my discharge meeting had left the hospital and was now working in a completely different area. This lead me to believe that this doctor had fobbed me off in an attempt to ease the last of their workload as it came to an end in Northampton and that part of the reason that I had not been listened to or treated fairly was because they didn’t really care as they knew that they would not have to deal with any comeback.

I have still received no psychological intervention to this day.

I am absolutely disgusted in the way that I was spoken to and treated, especially in being given false information by numerous members of staff within the hospital, in particular the doctor and senior member of the ward team.

I am both shocked and let down that professionals are able to 'fob off' (in my opinion) vulnerable people in periods of crisis. I am disappointed that a doctor that I have never met can provide what I believe to be completely inaccurate information regarding my summary of admission as detailed on my NHT Discharge Summary.

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Responses

Response from Hugh Jones, Service User and Carer Involvement Lead , Quality Support and Assurance, Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Hi,

I'm really sorry to hear that you feel let down by our services. I will pass on your comments, but in view of the detailed nature of your entry and the need for quite a detailed response you may wish to discuss it with our confidential freefone compaints number 0800 917 7206.

Best wishes

Hugh Jones

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