Thursday, 22 November 2007

The ideal response

No - not one I have received (nothing like!) from BLPT - in fact, I have had only silence. But, at R's suggestion, this would be the ideal response, the one I would have liked to receive from BLPT. I'm providing it for myself because nobody else is likely to do it for me.

On behalf of BLPT I am offering you a full and unreserved apology for the many negative encounters you have had with representatives of the Trust. Many of the things you have experiences should not have happened even once, and we appreciate that your repeated experiences have had a very detrimental effect on your mental health and well being. For this I apologise whole heartedly.

From the start you have clearly experienced great difficulties in accessing the support you needed and deserved. You have also experienced repeated difficulties in accessing the support agreed in your Care Plan. We note that it was by your great efforts and persistence that you obtained any help from our service. We are also aware that you have made good use of the help you have been able to obtain, and are pleased that you have experienced some examples of effective and considerate support within our service.

We acknowledge that making your complaint, and persisting in it, has required of you considerable effort, time and courage. We apologise for the repeated efforts you have had to make in order to be heard.

Your experience of lack of continuity of care was extremely difficult for you to cope with. It should never have happened that you were abandoned by your first care co-ordinator. The records kept by this care co-ordinator were inadequate, but from the email exchanges it is clear that you were left without support and without being informed of the removal of this support, or of the reason for this abandonment. This should not have happened. Neither should you have been left for nearly four months without a care co-ordinator. It is apparent from email exchanges in your records that Dr L made his professional opinion clear in stating that you should have an active Care Co-ordinator throughout your therapy with him, and this opinion was reiterated by Dr K. In the circumstances we can see no justification for the lengthy delay in providing you with this CMHT support, and agree that these experiences support your belief that you were discriminated against as a result of the complaint you made in December 2005 in your efforts to obtain the support and treatment you clearly needed and which had been recommended by a number of professionals who knew you well.

In the absences of S through ill health you were again poorly served by BE CMHT. You made every effort to obtain the support you clearly needed and deserved at a time of considerable stress. We recognise that, at this time, you were in the middle of a phased return to work following a period of absence due to your ill health. You were also unfortunately in the position where the other sources of support you had built up were unavailable to you - your GP was on annual leave, your pastor was on holiday, and your psychotherapy sessions were due to end. This must have a very difficult time for you. That you were refused the support you needed, and which was outlined in your Care Plan, is unacceptable and falls well below the standards of care we would expect to provide for a service user. We also find that in her emails to you, M did nor maintain the professional standards expected. Again, we apologise for this. We will ensure that the appropriate actions are taken regarding this discrimination, and also that your experience is made part of future training for Community Mental Health teams, so that lessons are learnt across the Trust.

It is clear that, as a result of your experiences in attempting to communicate with M, the relationship between you deteriorated. In the circumstances it was eminently reasonable that you requested that your care be transferred to another team. The way that request was handled, and the fact that, even despite the intervention of Dr L on your behalf, you were refused in your request, showed a lack of consideration for your needs. We apologise for this.

The way your complaint was handled also fell well below the standards we would wish to provide. We agree that it was completely inappropriate that M twice acted as investigating officer in complaints against herself. Many parties were aware that this was the case but there was clearly no follow through in ensuring an unbiased investigation occurred. Further training of all staff will take place to ensure this does not happen in the future. The two letters you received in response to your complaint were both unhelpful and, we acknowledge, hurtful and damaging to you. They should never have been sent. We apologise unreservedly that they were, and particularly that they were approved by a member of the Directorate. We are very sorry for this error.

In your attempts to access information you, very appropriately, contacted the PALS team. Your initial request for a copy of the CPA policy ws responded to appropriately. We can see no logical reason for the actions of the PALS officer in refusing you copies of the Complaints and Confidentiality policies you requested except, as you indicate, that this refusal was related to your complaint. This matter has been discussed with the staff involved and new lines of communication with the FOI office have been established which should prevent similar errors from occurring in future.

We are grateful for your persistence in pursuing all these matters, and apologise for the many ways in which you have been let down by the Trust. We appreciate how damaging this has been to you and the negative effect it has had on your ability to trust our mental health professionals to act in your best interests. We apologise that your experience has been so poor.


MMP said...

Generous and gracious- hugs from here.

Awareness said...

Great letter! Why don't you send it to them, letting them know that you would simply like them to sign it as an acknowledgement and return it to you. :)

I hope it helped to write. Did it Caroline?

You DESERVE a letter like that and more.

Disillusioned said...

why, dana?
because they haven't listened yet, so why would they this time.
how many times of trying does it take before you atually give up?
how many times do i have to be told it is my fault before i believe it?
it's ok, i believe it
it's ok, i give up