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Can I sue the NHS for failing to treat my mental health?

Raindrops1999Raindrops1999 Member Posts: 2 Listener
edited April 2020 in Disabled people

I have official diagnoses of OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), anxiety, depression and autism.

 

Since I left the child and adolescent mental health services (an NHS service) in June 2017, things went downhill from there. CAMHS were good to me, they referred me to the Adult Mental Health Team. The lady from CAMHS said I still needed help, so that’s why she referred me to the adult mental health services. However, when I got to Adult Services, I was under one nurse and she didn’t really do anything to help me. She said that they can’t help me, so then she discharged me and wrote a brief letter saying that they couldn’t help me.

 

The nurse who discharged me then referred me to a different service in January 2018, a service which anyone can go to if they’re experiencing anxiety or depression. I was on a waiting list for that service. A different woman at this service asked me if I was ever tested for autism. I said, “no.” So then the woman form that service referred me for an ASD test. It was positive and I’d have autism.

 

However, the service that diagnosed me with autism couldn’t help me because at the time I was (and still am) experiencing eating problems with excessive binge eating. They told me that I was too complex for them to handle.

 

So, then I got referred back to the GP and they referred me to a place called under the NHS, however, they couldn’t help me either because my needs were too complex for them.

 

So, this place then referred back to the Adult Mental Health Services in August 2018. From August 2018 till now, the only help I’ve had was a problem-solving group that was meant to last for 6 weeks, but the last one got cancelled because the coronavirus. I did have 3 sessions for treatment for OCD, however, I decided my eating issues were far worse than my OCD. So, they decided to stop the OCD treatment.

 

I had to keep telling my care coordinator at Adult Mental Health Services that I think I may have a binge eating disorder. Time and time again, I told her this. Finally, she referred me to the eating disorder clinic where I had an assessment… to just then be told I haven’t got a binge eating disorder and was told to get motivated to lose weight (I have absolutely no motivation because I’m suffering with all these mental issues).

 

This last year I have felt myself rapidly decline in health in more ways than one. In January 2018, I was 20 stone. Now I am 23 stone 4 pounds. I have felt my moods getting worse and I can’t stand anything anymore to do with nose. I’m overly aware of how people speak and it irritated me. I hate noise and when things get done wrong, I get angry very easily and breakdown at least 4 times a week. From day to day, my moods vary from being elated to down and depressed. I can also feel myself slightly more violent in my behaviour and speech. I don’t mean to be like this – but the mental health team have left me for so long, I’ve become like this. When I become so angry, I can’t reason and listen to anyone because I think I know what’s best.

 

Nearly every day I am calling the crisis team, but they don’t help me. I used to constantly call and email my GP, but I now see him every few months. However, my mental health has become so much worse. I’ve learnt nothing from my problems and issues; they’ve all just made me worse.

Because the Adult Mental Health Services have failed to treat me, I think I've developed BPD or some form of Bipolar. 


How the Adult Mental Health Team has failed to do for me

Being discharged too soon from medical care (because apparently, they couldn’t help me despite on their website it says they help with OCD, anxiety and depression)
 
Failure to heed family’s warnings or requests for help (we constantly phone and phone and phone, but no one seems to care)
 
Mental health issues being misdiagnosed as another illness (this wasn’t from the Adult Mental Health Services, but from a different NHS service. They claim that my binge eating is to do with my OCD, but it’s not)
 
Inadequate staffing within the mental health facility (I had to wait several months for a care-coordinator)
 
Excessive delays between diagnosis and treatment (it's taken them nearly 3 years for them to get me any form of treatment)


Is there anyway I can sue them for negligence for my mental health? Has anyone else ever done this before? 

Replies

  • thespicemanthespiceman Member Posts: 6,408 Disability Gamechanger
    edited April 2020
    Hello @Raindrops1999 Pleased to meet you.

    Thank you for joining and sharing.

    Sorry to hear this, I can identify everything you saying.

    This one of the major problems with local council services understand do feel for you and have a lot of empathy .

    Please may I suggest that you consider the following mental health charities.

    I have mental health myself very rarely ever used local council services.

    These the ones I use, you entitle to good mental health if this is not happening no one is listening then you must find other support.

    I used these three.

    https://www.richmondfellowship.org.uk

    https://www.mind.org.uk

    https://www.rethink.org

    All offer floating support and benefit, health and welfare advice, information .

    Do take clientele with additional problems.

    If you think you need the services of an advocate RETHINK are there to help.

    Speak on your behalf.

    As for legal action all I know it is causing you a lot of distress and pain if no one listening then you have the right to complain, if that is not working then you may in writing add why you are not happy with any service.

    If I can ask if they have discharged you and said can not help in the senses of the wording you mentioned.

    Then I need to explain some aspects of mental health that you may not be aware and need to know.

    1.  When you enrol in any service the agreement of your care and support mentioned to you at any meetings.

    You have to be responsive and keep being interested in helping yourself.

    2. All support staff who ever they are find things to help you could be courses could ways to deal with depression, anxiety. Involved with others support groups.

    3.  Failure to attend be responsive lacking in motivation and saying no to any care plans or health care initiatives  will discharge you.

    4.  Staff are not responsible for running your life for you holding hands .

    Do not do that, they are responsible to make sure that you can deal with any thing they do suggest and advise. Also not responsible for your own wellbeing and health that is your role.

    5. They can suggest advise and support in ideas and schemes plans to get healthy fit and look at diet, nutrition.

    Anything there help of course.  Be there to support and be listening .

    I am aware also that you could look at your local county council wellbeing service.

    Run by Community Health they can advise you on lots of issues with food and diet nutrition, or I can if you so wish to.

    I have as mentioned also please do contact the links provided , a lot different to council services to reassure you.

    Please if you do have any questions please ask me happy to answer and be supportive.

    Please take care and safe.

    @thespiceman
    Community Champion
    SCOPE Volunteer Award Engaging Communities 2019
    Mental Health advice, guidance and information to all members
    Nutrition, Diet, Wellbeing, Addiction.
    Recipes
  • CressidaCressida Member Posts: 770 Pioneering
    @Raindrops1999 with all due respect I dont really think that suing the NHS is the best course of action. Especially while we are in the middle of the covid 19 crisis. Reading through your post you have been referred to different specialties on 5 occasions. It appears that your GP is trying to help sort your problems. @thespiceman has given his usual good advice. Have you tried any of his suggestions? 
  • woodbinewoodbine Member Posts: 3,715 Disability Gamechanger
    I would agree that suing the NHS is not the way forward even more so in these difficult times, when things get back to normal it might be an idea to see a different GP as they are the gateway to help.
    Take care
    my advice is given freely and is correct to the best of my knowledge.
  • feirfeir Member Posts: 396 Pioneering
    Anyone can sue anybody if they wish. Whether you win the case or not is more complicated than that though,obviously. It can take years for each side to build up atheircase so if you instigated a case now then it's unlikely to have any impact during the corona virus.
  • CressidaCressida Member Posts: 770 Pioneering
    feir said:
    Anyone can sue anybody if they wish. Whether you win the case or not is more complicated than that though,obviously. It can take years for each side to build up atheircase so if you instigated a case now then it's unlikely to have any impact during the corona virus.
    Of course you are correct but in order to sue the NHS you have to have evidence of medical negligence. 

  • OverlyAnxiousOverlyAnxious Member Posts: 1,256 Disability Gamechanger
    A large problem with the mental services is that everyone just specialises in just one area of it.  They can't seem to help if you have more than one problem at a time so just write you off as being 'too complex'...  I've had the same experience and now have no idea what to try next.  Covid-19 has obviously put everything on hold, and come at the worst time for me personally, but even once that's passed I have no idea who to contact since being refused any help by the mental teams and not finding anything useful at charities such as Mind.  Maybe we are just beyond repair?  Not everyone can be fixed of course...

    I wouldn't even consider suing the NHS though.  Don't see the point in that at all.  Just my opinion.
  • thespicemanthespiceman Member Posts: 6,408 Disability Gamechanger
    Hello @OverlyAnxious   Sorry to have say to you disagree with you .

    All mental health charities deal with a range of clientele with a wide spectrum of conditions and disabilities.

    Many you may not have heard of.

    One of the issues you have raised in your post and many times is the reluctance of the services to help you.

    You not a hopeless case you implied wish to end your life hate the person you are and made it evident a lot of issues need addressing.

    Please if this is something you can address deal with . I have been involved with mental health services.

    Either as long term health or as a volunteer.

    Met many people those lives have extreme and serious mental health disorders probably in my opinion worse ever seen.

    Enrolled in charities or mental health services and had good positive results and out comes.

    I have to explain to you if you wish for services and mental health teams to support you.

    There is no point casting aspersions or insinuations to members of staff who work long hours for little pay.

    Way forward for any one is to think what do I need for my self from a service.

    Write it down make notes clear precise and to the point.

    When meeting any one they do ask you.

    Hand the notes need help with this clear to the point .

    Can help and will do so.

    Is there anything I can do to be responsive and not be negative.

    Will remove you if negative effecting other members.  In charities.

    Also do not allow talking issues if doing that will rebuke. Unless permission.

    This one I used 

    https://www.richmondfellowship.org.uk

    As mentioned you have problems issues then you need to think about other options and choices.

    There is a lot of help out there you have to be aware and be confident in finding it.

    I wish I could help more and I have tried before.  Given many times links and services.

    @thespiceman









    Community Champion
    SCOPE Volunteer Award Engaging Communities 2019
    Mental Health advice, guidance and information to all members
    Nutrition, Diet, Wellbeing, Addiction.
    Recipes
  • OverlyAnxiousOverlyAnxious Member Posts: 1,256 Disability Gamechanger
    We'll have to agree to disagree there then.  ;)  

    It's been my experience that they can only work on one issue at a time...I've been directly told that, more than once, by counsellors and assessors, and even have the refusal/discharge letters as proof, it's not just my assumption.

    I guess I am in quite an unusual position of not being able to do things that many will take for granted in order to access services.  I can't visit any indoor centres because of the agoraphobia.  I can't deal with people face to face because of the OCD.  I can't use phones because of social anxiety.  So I'm just left with email which they won't use as it's not secure.

    But, being realistic, what could they actually do via email?  What could they do at all for someone like me?  I get so fed up with phrases like 'feel the fear and do it anyway' as I would of course do that if it was purely a mental discomfort.  But what am I meant to do when I physically can't walk into the place, physically can't stand up due to diziness, physically can't speak to a person, physically can't stop my bowels 'evacuating' etc, etc...  So far the best I've had was a peice of paper with arrows on it to write my feelings down...as if that was going to help!  If anything it made me focus more on things so they got worse lol.

    What no-one ever understands is that I can't cope with being in this body (or indeed, any body, if there was an option to swap!), I can't cope with knowing it's all decaying and will need repairs or treatment that I never have been able to cope with.  Just as one example, I tried to force myself into the dentist 4 times last year, and failed every time.  I know I can't look after my teeth properly, I clearly can't get them checked, let alone treated...and know they will only get worse the longer I have to be alive.

    With that in mind, I can't cope with any thoughts of the future, knowing I'll still be in this body with this mind for as long as I have to live.  I don't want to do anything, I don't like people so don't want relationships or kids, I don't have any future hopes, in fact I've only ever made short term choices expecting not to still be alive by the time they come to light, even as far back as taking GCSE choices in school...I was never intending to finish school!  I've done the same several times but more recently, having to move into a small flat due to my issues but without any income...I put down 6 months rent from inheritance expecting not to survive the 6 months...but of course I did, which is why I'm now stuck without enough income to pay the rent, in a flat that is no longer even suitable, and having to try to get PIP that I don't really qualify for.

    Even in the unlikely event that I get PIP, it won't change my body or brain, I'll still be stuck in the same position physically and mentally.  Feeling nauseous, lethargic, anxious and lightheaded even in my own home with no escape, trying to get through food and bathroom visits and long, dark nights, without any chance of escape.

    I know that sounds negative...and it is...but it's hard to find any positivity in this life,even before Corona took over and we were locked down.

    Sorry for the rant, and it really isn't directly aimed at yourself, I just feel like I've tried all the options available to me so far, GP, Wellbeing, AMHT, Mind, etc.  I did also look into Richmond but they don't cover my area.
  • atlas47atlas47 Member Posts: 118 Pioneering
    Hi @rainbow58

    To answer your specific question, can I sue the NHS?

    Yes you can.

    You need to prove that you have a civil claim, that you have an “Expert Witness”, that can testify your claim, in a civil court.

    You need to contact a specialist law firm, that deals with such claims.

    Please be on notice, there are time limits for such claims.

    Also in respect of OP, suggesting that due to Coronavirus, it might be difficult to register such a claim.

    Your legal right are firmly safeguarded in our constitution.

    Please let us know, if we can assist you further.

    Best wishes
  • Raindrops1999Raindrops1999 Member Posts: 2 Listener
    Hi all, thanks for the comments. 

    I just don't know what to do because I know the NHS is very good for physical health - but they've failed me for my mental health. I just feel quite hopeless. I know the NHS is very good, but they have failed me quite badly for my mental health issues.
  • CressidaCressida Member Posts: 770 Pioneering
    edited April 2020
    Hi all, thanks for the comments. 

    I just don't know what to do because I know the NHS is very good for physical health - but they've failed me for my mental health. I just feel quite hopeless. I know the NHS is very good, but they have failed me quite badly for my mental health issues.
    If you are unsure you need to think carefully about why you are considering suing the NHS. Is it about gaining money or about getting your health issues sorted. If it's about your health maybe you should think about a change of GP first.  
  • worried33worried33 Member Posts: 399 Pioneering
    A large problem with the mental services is that everyone just specialises in just one area of it.  They can't seem to help if you have more than one problem at a time so just write you off as being 'too complex'...  I've had the same experience and now have no idea what to try next.  Covid-19 has obviously put everything on hold, and come at the worst time for me personally, but even once that's passed I have no idea who to contact since being refused any help by the mental teams and not finding anything useful at charities such as Mind.  Maybe we are just beyond repair?  Not everyone can be fixed of course...

    I wouldn't even consider suing the NHS though.  Don't see the point in that at all.  Just my opinion.

    I fully understand that, also applies to physical conditions as well, I have been to many specialist consultants, as soon as they get wind I have "other" problems, they bounce me back to the GP as I am not a low hanging fruit.

    Suing the NHS if you win could draw media attention to it, which would be an achievement, and then be used to pay for private treatment, so I could see the potential benefits.  However I think the chances of success would be very low.
  • Si_ObhanSi_Obhan Member Posts: 34 Courageous
    I also have obsessive compulsive disorder. I get really anxious when people don’t follow rules. So a situation like yours would really affect me. I know your frustrations. On paper, on TV, on their website - ill mental health is being treated the same as physical health and is something that we are all aware of, and you will get treatment for. Except the reality is very different. What should happen and what actually happens are rarely the same thing. It’s frustrating and you can get fixated on making sure the people in authority do the “right” thing.

    For me my mental health gets overlooked due to a visible physical illness. I currently don’t have any treatment in place. I’m in my 30s and have tried everything from mindfulness to being admitted to hospital. I first started taking antidepressants at 14. I personally don’t think there is anything the NHS can do for me. I’ve seen expensive private counsellors paid for by my employers in the past and they couldn’t help me. The best help for OCD is helping yourself. Sorry if that’s a cliche but it’s true. The advice for OCD from the NHS is to do CBT. But CBT requires effort from you to try and change the way that you deal with things. It’s mostly homework like reading self help books. If that doesn’t help there isn’t much they can actually do.

    Sorry if that’s not what you want to hear. I read through all of your post and couldn’t see what you actually want from the NHS. With conditions like yours you need to know what you want from any help you are asking for. Only you know what you want. When you figure that out then work out how you are going to achieve that goal, on your own or with help.

    In answer to your main question, you probably wouldn’t get very far with suing the NHS as they are not at fault for your ill mental health and it’s hard to prove they’re negligent. I see posts all the time from people with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (the physical illness I live with), saying they want to sue for negligence because they were misdiagnosed for 40 years... but when I actually looked into this having only been diagnosed at 25 myself, and at the time feeling like it had ruined my life as I’d made career and family choices thinking I would be ablebodied forever, I was told by an “ambulance chasing” type solicitor that NHS negligence cases are hard to prove. Not diagnosing you with something or not providing you with treatment you think you should get is not negligence but botched surgery or birth problems are. What you are saying is negligence is very hard to prove. You could in theory sue them but I doubt you would win. Again, sorry if that’s not what you want to hear.


  • CressidaCressida Member Posts: 770 Pioneering
    @Si_Obhan an interesting and insightful post. 
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