'More still to do': Mental health crisis services respond to Healthwatch Leeds report

People who have experienced a mental health crisis gave their views to Healthwatch Leeds (Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire)
People who have experienced a mental health crisis gave their views to Healthwatch Leeds (Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire)
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Three key mental health crisis service providers in Leeds have been given mostly negative feedback by users, a new survey shows.

Healthwatch Leeds asked people “what it is like to have a mental health crisis in Leeds” in a new report.

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Almost 60 per cent of comments about the Leeds Crisis Service (Single Point of Access), Acute Liaison Psychiatry (ALPs) and A&E were negative.

Many people said that the busy and clinical environment in A&E was very distressing and others didn’t feel it was equipped to deal with mental health issues and were more concerned with physical health.

Many comments about the Crisis Service mentioned long waiting times for the service to call back after the initial phone call, with some waiting several hours for a call back.

One person said: "My friend, who I support, rang the Crisis team; was promised a call back however this never happened. We got a text message 9 hours after our initial call, which by this point we were at A&E as my friend had overdosed.”

There were positive comments about somebody from the service being able to come out and see them, staff being supportive, and the right referrals being made.

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The survey of almost 700 people also found that 47 per cent of people did not know where to go to get help when this was the first experience of crisis.

Some staff, particularly at ALPs and the Crisis Service, were sometimes rude and judgemental, some respondents said.

Comments about organisations including The Market Place, Dial House, Dial House at Touchstone and the Well Bean Crisis Cafe were more positive than negative.

One person said of the cafe: “If it wasn’t for this place, I would be 6 foot under by now. I am treated like a person not a number. Not looked down on. Staff treat me with dignity”

Almost 700 people were surveyed between January and March 2019.

Joanna Forster Adams, Chief Operating Officer at Leeds and York Partnership Foundation Trust (LYPFT), said: "At LYPFT we engaged broadly last year and have continued to do so as part of our Community Redesign proposals. We heard from people the need to strengthen our Mental Health Crisis response and the need to intervene earlier and support people who are at their most vulnerable.

She added: "We knew that there would still be more to do and are fully committed to building on this work."

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Penny McSorley, Deputy Director of Nursing and Quality at NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: "NHS Leeds CCG recognises the current gaps and shortfalls that have been highlighted within this report and will work with partners in terms of ensuring that as a system we respond to the recommendations."

Krystina Kozlowska, Head of Patient Experience at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: "We are very pleased to receive the Healthwatch Leeds Mental Health Crisis Report, which we will use as an opportunity to reflect upon the care we currently provide to patients and to consider where we could make improvements."