An apology from SEPT

The clinical director from SEPT called me this morning to offer an apology for the unacceptable behaviour of the psychiatrist during yesterday’s appointment .

He said that bringing God and organisational politics into the conversation was completely inappropriate. He also said that her excuse for not writing me a prescription was incorrect – of course, doctors are able to prescribe medication as they see fit.

In addition, he said the psychotherapy referral should have taken weeks, not months. While he said he could not make any promises, he said he would do what he could to give me an appointment for as early as is possible.

There will, naturally, be an internal investigation according to the usual policies and procedures.

I am very grateful for the intervention of this kind and compassionate man, and it is heartening to see that hopefully common sense, compassion and kindness will prevail.

It does, however raise questions, not least being this rapid, senior intervention being the result of my blog post, complaining openly on social media, and the assistance of a kind person at a national NHS organisation.

Here are a few questions for starters:

  • What happens to patients who receive this sort of treatment who do not feel able to complain at all, through whatever channel and for whatever reason?
  • Is there an actual process/protocol for referral to psychotherapy, or do staff just make it up as they go along? (I would suspect the latter, after the farce of the mental health nurse thinking my symptoms were ‘normal’, and no further action needed and having no idea why I was being referred to psychiatry)
  • I know the NHS generally is struggling, but it seems nonsensical to not offer earlier mental health intervention. We know early intervention for all kinds of physical illness leads to better outcomes, so why are patients with mental health issues made to wait so long for care and treatment? Such long waits can potentially lead to patients not being able to work and developing other, physical illnesses – which of course then costs the system more money.

I feel such frustration – not just at yesterday’s appointment, but at the whole process. I had been making reasonable progress but as the result of yesterday’s upset I feel like I have fallen back several steps: I am emotionally wrung-out and exhausted and have regressed to wanting to hide under my duvet and when I emerge everything will be better again (as much as I know this is not possible).

I am furious that the behaviour of one healthcare (un)professional has led me to feel this way.

I am immensely grateful to those who took the time to write kind and supportive comments on yesterday’s post, and all the kindness and virtual hugs that came through social media. Thank you all.

I will, hopefully, come bouncing back as ever before long. I will not allow the actions of one unprofessional psychiatrist stop me. Tomorrow, I am going to Birmingham Women’s Hospital at their invitation to talk about Hugo and our experiences, in order to help make sure support for other parents at such an awful time is as good as it can be. The people who invited me found me through Twitter.

This, and the support I have received really does demonstrate the good side of social media: the support, and the connections that possibly otherwise would not be made.

I will make a difference, in Hugo’s name: I hope that never again a patient will be spoken to in such a way by that doctor, and that other doctors take note; and that care for all bereaved parents in general is improved.

We deserve better.


0 comment on An apology from SEPT

  1. conceptionallychallenged
    October 16, 2014 at 7:56 pm (6 years ago)

    I’m glad you got their attention, and I hope you will now get the care you need and deserve. You’re a trailblazer for other parents who need to find ways to survive without their baby.
    For myself, I never even looked for counseling. Several people (including medical professionals) suggested I should, but as Meghan outlined, the process of finding a good fit that takes my insurance seems so complicated, it was overwhelming.

    • Leigh Kendall
      October 18, 2014 at 10:56 am (6 years ago)

      It’s a whole different level of complication and still not good enough for women (and men!) who need help. Thank you for your kind words xxx

  2. meghanoc
    October 16, 2014 at 6:01 pm (6 years ago)

    I read your post yesterday but didnt have time to comment. I was enraged! Having had good care myself, I know what you should be getting. I’m glad you were able to get some followup, but yes, there are still so many issues. I am so impressed with how your blog post actually activated some change- may be on a smaller level for now, but hopefully on a larger scale in the long run- so that others who dont have such a platform can get the help they need too. well done!

    I also find it fascinating to read about how mental health services work in your country. It’s a struggle in the US as well- a different struggle though. Finding counselors and psychiatrists who take people’s insurances, let alone finding a good match with counselors, is trying. Many of my patients just want a pill from me (and under the right circumstances I will prescribe, though I am no expert!) but I think many could benefit from counseling as well. People hesitate because it takes time out of their day, but it can be so helpful without side effects (with a good counselor). But if I get them to go, then I have to find a place that their insurance will cover and thats a huge challenge! There is a big push for us to screen for PP depression (as we should) but I dont think we do a good enough job and partially that is because of our lack of places to refer to. It’s great that I could diagnose PP depression, but if I cant treat it, whats the point! It’s so frustrating! It’s fascinating to read the frustrations with national health care too.

    • Leigh Kendall
      October 18, 2014 at 10:54 am (6 years ago)

      Blimey, it sounds like there is a whole lot of different complications in the US – neither system is good enough or meets women’s needs by the sounds of it. I’m sorry it got to this for me, but I hope my experience – and talking about it too – can help others by improving services xxx

  3. Kiran Chug
    October 16, 2014 at 1:40 pm (6 years ago)

    Dear Leigh, your strength is amazing. You will make a difference, as you are already proving. It should of course never have come to this, but I’m pleased at the action taken so far by the NHS in response to yesterday. Hugo must be so very proud xxx

    • Leigh Kendall
      October 18, 2014 at 10:52 am (6 years ago)

      Thank you lovely. I hope Hugo is as proud of me as I am of him xxx

  4. Goldie
    October 16, 2014 at 1:38 pm (6 years ago)

    Oh my goodness. I missed your post yesterday and I’m sorry I did. You’re actually not far from me (if you’re close to bedford). If you’d ever like to go for a cuppa give me a shout 🙂 its not much of an offer but I would love to meet another mum and I would love to hear more about Hugo. I’m sorry yesterday was rough. My experience of the nhs is either they get it very right or very wrong. Consistency is hard to find. Xx

    • Leigh Kendall
      October 18, 2014 at 10:51 am (6 years ago)

      Thank you for your kind words. I’d love to tell you more about Hugo. And you’re right, consistency can be hard to find xxx


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