Woman’s 23 hours of hos­pi­tal mis­ery

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Mental Health Support -

A woman who went to hos­pi­tal af­ter two failed sui­cide attempts was kept wait­ing 23 hours and had only a five-minute con­sul­ta­tion.

Alice Mitchell has anorexia, de­pres­sion, anx­i­ety, ob­ses­sive com­pul­sive dis­or­der and post trau­matic stress dis­or­der.

The 19-year-old went to Kent and Can­ter­bury Hos­pi­tal af­ter suf­fer­ing a se­vere re­lapse which has re­sulted in sui­ci­dal thoughts.

When she turned up she waited four hours be­fore be­ing seen by a nurse for five min­utes.

She then waited an­other six hours be­fore be­ing trans­ferred to the Wil­liam Har­vey Hos­pi­tal in Ash­ford where she spent an­other 13 hours to see an on-site pro­fes­sional af­ter be­ing told that if she left staff would call the po­lice.

She even­tu­ally saw some­one, who was un­able to give her any ad­vice and said they would re­fer her on – but failed to do so.

When Alice, of Bar­ton Road, Can­ter­bury, was later dis­charged she had no money to get home and her phone bat­tery was flat.

She was told she was not el­i­gi­ble for trans­port help.

She even­tu­ally bor­rowed a charger and called her mother, who came and col­lected her.

Alice said: “In 23 hours I had a grand to­tal of five min­utes face time with a med­i­cal pro­fes­sional.

“For the other 22 hours and 55 min­utes I was sit­ting, com­pletely un­su­per­vised in a busy wait­ing room where the staff had ab­so­lutely no idea I was even there – let alone what my case was.

“I was told that, if I tried to leave, they’d call the po­lice, but be­cause I was un­su­per­vised, I could have walked out and thrown my­self un­der a bus and no­body would have done any­thing. When I did come to be dis­charged I felt even more sui­ci­dal than I had when I ar­rived.”

Alice’s or­deal started when she went to hos­pi­tal on March 13.

Her case has been made public as fig­ures show 169 peo­ple (7%) of those ad­mit­ted to men­tal health hos­pi­tals run by the Kent and Med­way NHS and So­cial Care Part­ner­ship Trust failed to re­ceive fol­low-up treat­ment within seven days of be­ing dis­charged.

Alice said: “I was given no care plan and no fol­low up.

“The only thing they did was write to my GP ad­vis­ing her that I should go for an ap­point­ment.

“To make mat­ters worse, I’d been for one ses­sion of cog­ni­tive be­havioural ther­apy but my ther­a­pist also de­cided to dis­charge me be­cause I’d missed a ses­sion while sui­ci­dal in hos­pi­tal.

“Now I’m left with­out any sup­port from men­tal health ser­vices. I’m back to square one.”

There is grow­ing recog­ni­tion of the need for more timely fol­low- up as a sui­cide preven­tion mea­sure, with the House of Com­mons health se­lect com­mit­tee call­ing for ear­lier fol­low-up.

The Na­tional In­sti­tute for Health and Clin­i­cal Ex­cel­lence rec­om­mends fol­low-up within 48 hours for some pa­tients only.

What do you think? Write to Ken­tish Ex­press, 34-36 North Street, Ash­ford TN24 8JR or email ken­tish­ex­press@thek­m­group.co.uk

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