David’s complaint

“I contacted VoiceAbility when I wanted advocacy support to complain about the treatment I had received from the Crisis Team and the Early Intervention Team prior to hospital admission.

I have always led an active, healthy life and avoided taking any medication.  Recently, though, my job became very stressful and I began to experience psychotic symptoms. This resulted in me becoming very unwell and being admitted to hospital.

With my advocate I was able to focus on my complaint which was that:

  • I had been given no information about the severe side effects which the prescribed medication caused so I had not made an informed choice.
  • I had received poor advice about coming off my medication.
  • I would have preferred psychotherapy to medication but this was not discussed.
  • I should have been monitored more closely in order to prevent my deterioration and subsequent hospital admission.
  • My views had not been acknowledged by medical staff, as a person with a responsible job and a healthy lifestyle.  I felt judged and blamed.

I felt clear that I wanted to make a formal complaint in order to receive answers to my questions and highlight these problems to medical staff.

With the help of my advocate I wrote my letter of complaint to the Trust. The response I received apologised for my distress but stated that the Crisis and Early Intervention Teams felt they had responded appropriately. It also stated that I could request a meeting with the Complaints Manager and that I could contact the Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman if I was still unhappy.

I was not happy with the response and requested further advocacy support to write another letter, again stating my views and requesting a face to face meeting with the Complaints Manager.

I attended this meeting with my advocate, the Complaints Manager and the Clinical Lead of the Early Intervention Team.

  • The Early Intervention Team manager apologised for not giving information about the medication given.  He said that the team had now produced a letter for patients which offered a meeting with the pharmacist to discuss possible side effects.  They also now gave out the Trust medication leaflet as a matter of routine.
  • He explained that psychological intervention is often not helpful when people are very unwell.  However, he offered to support me at my next meeting with the care co-ordinator to discuss whether psychological help might now be appropriate.
  • He acknowledged that the nursing staff may not have communicated as clearly as they had intended.
  • We agreed that clear written information is essential to ensure that accurate details are both given by medical staff and received by the patient.
  • The manager apologised and explained that changes in procedure had been made and further training was now being implemented for all members of the Crisis Team and the Early Intervention Team as a result of my complaint.

I subsequently received a letter summarising this meeting, again giving information about contacting the Ombudsman if I was still unhappy with the response. However, I was satisfied.

I felt that with advocacy support I was able to express my views and feelings clearly, and that they were then respectfully acknowledged and that positive changes in practice have resulted from my complaint.  I have since been able to leave these issues behind and focus on my recovery.”


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