The clinical director from SEPT called me this morning to offer an apology for the unacceptable behaviour of the psychiatrist during yesterday’s appointment .
He said that bringing God and organisational politics into the conversation was completely inappropriate. He also said that her excuse for not writing me a prescription was incorrect – of course, doctors are able to prescribe medication as they see fit.
In addition, he said the psychotherapy referral should have taken weeks, not months. While he said he could not make any promises, he said he would do what he could to give me an appointment for as early as is possible.
There will, naturally, be an internal investigation according to the usual policies and procedures.
I am very grateful for the intervention of this kind and compassionate man, and it is heartening to see that hopefully common sense, compassion and kindness will prevail.
It does, however raise questions, not least being this rapid, senior intervention being the result of my blog post, complaining openly on social media, and the assistance of a kind person at a national NHS organisation.
Here are a few questions for starters:
- What happens to patients who receive this sort of treatment who do not feel able to complain at all, through whatever channel and for whatever reason?
- Is there an actual process/protocol for referral to psychotherapy, or do staff just make it up as they go along? (I would suspect the latter, after the farce of the mental health nurse thinking my symptoms were ‘normal’, and no further action needed and having no idea why I was being referred to psychiatry)
- I know the NHS generally is struggling, but it seems nonsensical to not offer earlier mental health intervention. We know early intervention for all kinds of physical illness leads to better outcomes, so why are patients with mental health issues made to wait so long for care and treatment? Such long waits can potentially lead to patients not being able to work and developing other, physical illnesses – which of course then costs the system more money.
I feel such frustration – not just at yesterday’s appointment, but at the whole process. I had been making reasonable progress but as the result of yesterday’s upset I feel like I have fallen back several steps: I am emotionally wrung-out and exhausted and have regressed to wanting to hide under my duvet and when I emerge everything will be better again (as much as I know this is not possible).
I am furious that the behaviour of one healthcare (un)professional has led me to feel this way.
I am immensely grateful to those who took the time to write kind and supportive comments on yesterday’s post, and all the kindness and virtual hugs that came through social media. Thank you all.
I will, hopefully, come bouncing back as ever before long. I will not allow the actions of one unprofessional psychiatrist stop me. Tomorrow, I am going to Birmingham Women’s Hospital at their invitation to talk about Hugo and our experiences, in order to help make sure support for other parents at such an awful time is as good as it can be. The people who invited me found me through Twitter.
This, and the support I have received really does demonstrate the good side of social media: the support, and the connections that possibly otherwise would not be made.
I will make a difference, in Hugo’s name: I hope that never again a patient will be spoken to in such a way by that doctor, and that other doctors take note; and that care for all bereaved parents in general is improved.
We deserve better.