Mental health chiefs promise to improve support for Swindon service users

This Is Wiltshire: SUNS chairperson Ann Mooney says mental health sufferers are feeling let down SUNS chairperson Ann Mooney says mental health sufferers are feeling let down

MENTAL health chiefs pledged to listen to and improve the care and support provided to users after coming under fire from patients claiming they felt utterly abandoned by the system.

After being handed an extensive list of complaints and concerns from members of mental health organisation SUNS, directors and consultants at Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust met them face to face at the charity’s offices to address some of their misgivings about the body and its intensive team, also known as the crisis team.

Paula May, managing director for AWP Swindon, Dr Sammad Hashmi, consultant psychiatrist for the intensive team, and Newland Anning, head of practice and profession were quizzed by mental health sufferers and asked to account for the ‘disgusting’ and ‘patronising’ way in which they were treated by the crisis team in their time of need.

User Maria Rooney said: “It trivialises someone’s mental health condition when people are desperate and at the end of their tether are told by someone on the other end of the line to have a cup of tea and a bath. People want to be taken seriously by the crisis team. It’s patronising.”

Others at the meeting also claimed that despite being promised daily visits from the team over several weeks, they only received one phone call and had to deal with their suicidal thoughts and deep depression entirely alone.

A tendency to call the police at the first sign of danger when users contacted the health service threatening to end their lives was also criticised by members, who said they felt ignored by mental health staff who offloaded them on the emergency services.

SUNS runs its own helpline Listening Line, which regularly deals with calls from patients let down in the past by the crisis team at their most vulnerable, according to chairman Ann Mooney.

“When you call them, they say ‘We are a bit busy, do you really need us?’,” said Ann, who suffers from mental health problems herself. “When they say they will call back they sometimes don’t for hours or not at all and in that time someone could have died.

“People are told they are going to be given help for two weeks and then someone just comes once.

“We all want to work with the mental health service but you don’t listen to us.”

Although unable to provide specific and detailed answers as many members had not gone through the formal complaint channels, AWP representatives vowed to ensure staff were more sympathetic to users’ plight and their individual needs.

“We have got to make sure people don’t get lost in the gaps,” said Paula May.

“The response of the crisis team is not always helpful or what people need at that point in time and can be a bit general, from what we are hearing. The advice given is not always helpful to hear for some people; and that’s not OK.”

Newland Anning added: “This is not just a one-off meeting.

“We need to come out and listen to what people have to say. Some people are more comfortable coming to us on an informal basis then going through the formal complaints process. We want to listen and improve.”

Comments (3)

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12:03am Thu 27 Feb 14

jax66 says...

how do we go about being heard?
how do we go about being heard? jax66

10:49pm Thu 27 Feb 14

underdogs says...

jax66 - im sure people are heard, but ive found it unlikely you will be listened to or that anything will substantially improve - other than for a few weeks whilst this matter is attracting media attention ! After all AWP is some 12 years old now - but its still not learning the lessons from its past failings - maybe its cheaper to cover up all the very serious problems this organisation has, and to ' SPIN ' themselves out of difficult situations that appear to be harming patients over many many years . Certainly NOT putting the patient first in all they do !
jax66 - im sure people are heard, but ive found it unlikely you will be listened to or that anything will substantially improve - other than for a few weeks whilst this matter is attracting media attention ! After all AWP is some 12 years old now - but its still not learning the lessons from its past failings - maybe its cheaper to cover up all the very serious problems this organisation has, and to ' SPIN ' themselves out of difficult situations that appear to be harming patients over many many years . Certainly NOT putting the patient first in all they do ! underdogs

11:31am Fri 28 Feb 14

Badgersgetabadname says...

Promise to improve mental health????
Any actual proposals or just more of the same.

The ONLY way you can get ANY help other than just more pills you need to be an immediate danger to yourself or others this is like waiting for a cut to become septic before you put a plaster on it.
Going to a walk in center or A&E the advice is as in the article make a cup of tea have a bath etc....to allot of people these things will seem like good ways to calm down but when there are competing urges or even voices in your head to be toxic to yourself and others this is not only counter productive but damages further.

This is another knee jerk reaction to defend a massively underfunded and misunderstood section of society. Every time there is another not to be repeated society says that we will help these people....no they dont get anymore help it just carries on.
The media and many people like to point a finger at some werido that cracks up or otherwise explodes and say they just forgot there meds......probably not the case..if you state your case and nobody cares or listens why shouldnt you lash out and yourself or others they didnt care before and this seems to be the only method that gets attention.

Although I have nothing but respect for those trying to work in a really difficult area but with either low funding or no staffing levels this situation will only get worse as is or we will have millions on sedatives just so others dont have to see them.
Promise to improve mental health???? Any actual proposals or just more of the same. The ONLY way you can get ANY help other than just more pills you need to be an immediate danger to yourself or others this is like waiting for a cut to become septic before you put a plaster on it. Going to a walk in center or A&E the advice is as in the article make a cup of tea have a bath etc....to allot of people these things will seem like good ways to calm down but when there are competing urges or even voices in your head to be toxic to yourself and others this is not only counter productive but damages further. This is another knee jerk reaction to defend a massively underfunded and misunderstood section of society. Every time there is another not to be repeated society says that we will help these people....no they dont get anymore help it just carries on. The media and many people like to point a finger at some werido that cracks up or otherwise explodes and say they just forgot there meds......probably not the case..if you state your case and nobody cares or listens why shouldnt you lash out and yourself or others they didnt care before and this seems to be the only method that gets attention. Although I have nothing but respect for those trying to work in a really difficult area but with either low funding or no staffing levels this situation will only get worse as is or we will have millions on sedatives just so others dont have to see them. Badgersgetabadname

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