Through the eyes of a carer for someone with a mental illness

MH problem? A&E fixes everything…


Today has been far from a good day; in fact earlier today I decided to suggest to Chris that he go to a&e to seek help because it was obvious he was very distressed, he was having urges to hurt himself and he had cut his arms. So I set about trying to get the girls looked after, what a palaver and in the end to no avail. I then remembered part of the plan for Chris if he wouldn’t take himself to hospital then we would ring EDT (Emergency Duty Team) so I dug out the number. However EDT suggested that he take himself to a&e or ring the out of hours doctor, so because we still had no one to watch the girls we opted for out of hours. After a doctor rang back to speak to him they then decided to ring EDT and get back to him, on getting back to him she said he would have to take himself to a&e… why was it so hard to understand that I couldn’t get four little children up there and Chris wouldn’t go without me, nor did I feel he was safe enough to be on his own. The doctor asked Chris if she could speak to me where she basically told me childcare isn’t the problem of the NHS, a neighbour or something would have them (I has asked EVERYONE) and that I just needed to get him up there. I again explained the crisis plan and the fact he wouldn’t go without me and she just said well you will just have to sort it won’t you, because

‘He doesn’t warrant an ambulance now does he it wouldn’t be appropriate use of the ambulance service’

Now what I really wanted to say was… no he doesn’t at the moment but when he has been left to take all his medication, has left the house and gone missing, has the Police out looking for him and they call an ambulance it would have been easier if someone could have helped him. PREVENTION! (Not a word that goes with mental health)

So what do I do? Oh yes, I sit here watching him suffer and praying to God he can just get through the next minute and the next until something changes and enables him to seek help. That is just it though, if our Home Treatment Team had accepted his referral upon leaving hospital it wouldn’t have come to this, he hasn’t even been out of hospital a week and he is really very unwell again.  I think it is safe to say, his ‘crisis plan’ isn’t even worth the paper it is written on, because what help have we been able to get today? Nothing, just a lot of pointless phone calls with the answer, ‘go to a&e’ which actually is the least appropriate place for a person having a mental health crisis!!!


Author: acarerseyes

I am a mum to four gorgeous girls, and a carer to my former partner of eight years, Chris who has a mental illness, BPD. I blog my experiences.. life is tough! We live in Greater Manchester, UK.

4 thoughts on “MH problem? A&E fixes everything…

  1. i understand all of this,my day has been similar to is a case of getting through minute by minute.So right to say that Prevention is not a word that MH professional know about.
    wishe d we lived nearer each other.xx

  2. I’m not on Twitter right now for a few weeks break, but I have been wondering how you and Chris have been. Am sorry, it sounds like things are no better, at all!

    I cannot believe the doctor just expects you to magic up childcare and get things sorted and having been in A&E with a friend (same diagnosis) having a huge crisis, I know it is NOT the place to send someone in that state. I am so frustrated for you, and for him. I hate how crappy the system is, and how poor the actual help is when the crisis comes and the plan is supposed to be in action. I wonder, if one day, they will actually employ people who have had experience in the Mental Health system, and carers of people with mental health issues, to actually run the system, if it would make any difference? I think it would, someone who actually knows what it is like, not just some random doctor, from A&E at the end of a phone…

    I found the same with social services, when I worked with them, as a nurse. They didn’t do “prevention”. We were all about support, helping families, trying to prevent crisis, trying to keep things going, and they didn’t do prevention, they just dealt with “crisis” (and not very well, to be honest) and didn’t want to hear “well, if we do x, we can stop y happening”, they just want to know “how to we handle y when it happens?”.
    The whole system needs a dramatic overhaul, sadly, with lack of £, and the governments priority being to cut costs until we are rationing medication and loo paper, that isn’t going to happen.
    I hope he is able to get through the next few hours, and you are ok! Wish I could help! 😦

  3. So what do you do? First, make a written complaint to the Chief Executive of your local NHS Primary Care Trust. NHS patient transport contracts are not just for blue-light emergencies, they’re for all patient transport needs. Send copies of your complaint, for information, to your local LINk, your councillor, your MP, and your public governors of the NHS trusts that provide A&E, mental health and ambulance services in your area. If you need help to make a complaint, talk to LINk or PALS to find out where to get help (but don’t let PALS handle your complaint themselves, in case they downgrade it).

    Second, consider making it easy for readers of this blog to find out which part of the country you are in. I’m a public governor of the NHS mental health trust that serves Gloucestershire and Herefordshire. If you’re in one of those counties I can bring additional pressure to bear, but how am I meant to know? Across the country there are thousands of volunteers like me who have regular access to the highest levels of local NHS management. I understand the advantages of anonymity but the ways things are, the people who can help to change the things you write about can’t find your blog!

    (OK, I eventually found out from Gravatar roughly where you are, but still too roughly to pin down the NHS trusts involved.)

    • Thank you for taking time to reply, I am in Greater Manchester, we fall under Pennine Care Trust, I think I have mentioned it elsewhere on my blog but I will add it into my information about me, thank you for pointing that out.
      I will also take your advice on taking it further, it is just very difficult when you are battling to get through every day and on top of that you are then having to deal with the complaints system.
      Thanks again

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