18:15 Sunday 08 December 2013

Mental health in crisis - Relative hits out at trust after being told there is no crisis provision

Written byMARK MCKAY

Clifford Whetton Clifford Whetton

SERIOUS questions remain unanswered by Burton’s mental health trust after it refused to respond to claims there was no crisis provision in the town.

Clifford Whetton, 54, of Evershed Way, Burton, hit out at South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, after an incident involving a 26-year-old relative who suffers from anxiety.

Mr Whetton took the relative to Queen’s Hospital, Burton, after they had suffered an anxiety attack.

They were seen by a doctor and then a nurse, who Mr Whetton said told him there was no crisis team provision available on that evening.

Crisis teams provide rapid response and assessments for those with acute mental health problems.

Mr Whetton said: “Where was the back-up? The nurse did brilliantly but there should have been someone there.

“We just had to go home.

“The mental health system is reaching crisis point and there needs to be something done.”

But the trust, which closed inpatient psychiatric services at Burton’s Margaret Stanhope Centre, refused to be drawn on the claim. A spokesman said it would not discuss the experience of any patient in the media.

Since the incident, Mr Whetton said his relative, who has suffered from anxiety for 10 years and did not want to be named, had seen a GP.

Mr Whetton said: “It’s OK for people to say mental health is being dealt with, but this needs sorting out.

“It’s upsetting me because I’m worried about him.”

Dr Matt Long, who campaigned to save the axed Margaret Stanhope unit, said Mr Whetton’s ‘shocking’ experience revealed ‘a very real need for institutional provision for acutely mentally ill people in Burton.’

He said: “It’s vitally important we do not criticise the crisis team.

“This case highlights family members and friends have to shoulder the responsibility because the welfare state has become insufficient.”

A spokesman from the trust said an on-call doctor would always be available and encouraged anyone with a complaint to contact its patient advice liaison service.

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