As promised I received a letter from the CMHT today confirming my appointment that had been given to me over the phone for 27th March. This is nearly 2 months after my GP referred me urgently as part of the crisis plan I currently have.
The first thing that I read is that I have an appointment to see the ‘Liason Intake Team (LIT) Duty Worker’. I have never received a letter with an appointment that doesn’t name the professional I am seeing. I find this hugely anxiety provoking and in the many years I have received mental health services they know I need to have appointments with females but yet on many occasions I will be given an appointment with a male either in writing or with the crisis team which always delays treatment further. Not knowing the gender or name just adds to my distress.
Action number 1 tomorrow is to clarify who I will be seeing and ensure that they recognise I need to see a female duty worker.
The second issue is the location of the appointment. Under the trust’s policy I know that patients can request to be seen at the nearest mental health centre to them. This is because the trust made a decision to move services around and therefore the staff have to travel. When I was first refered I made it clear that the appointment needed to be at my nearest centre as I am unable to travel by public transport and there is no parking at the other centre. Yet again I have been ignored and the appointment is not in the correct place.
Action number 2 tomorrow is to ask again for the appointment to be held at my local centre as requested.
The letter itself comes with a leaflet outlining the services that the LIT team offer. The leaflet makes it clear that this is an assessment. As I have said previously I really don’t feel that an assessment is the most suitable solution for me or in fact anyone with a long term mental health condition who requires ongoing support.
Action number 3 tomorrow is to explain again that I know what support I need and what would be helpful to me.
The leaflet also talks about ‘developing an initial care plan’. I already have a very comprehensive care and crisis plan which I work hard to follow. Part of the care plan was to contact services via my GP if I felt I needed them – the delay in getting the required help has had a huge impact but doesn’t mean my care plan needs re-writing.
Action number 4 is to ask them to read my care & crisis plan which is on my notes before I attend any appointment.
The whole process is completely unsatisfactory and has made me so anxious at what is already a very difficult time. The LIT team should not be used for people with long term mental health needs that need some extra support in addition to the GP support every once in a while. I was promised when discharged from services that if I needed support in the future that it would be quick to access and relevant to my needs. I am struggling to see this promise in action.
I am seeing my GP tomorrow morning and hoping she can advise me what to do and help restore a little faith in the health service I am faced with.