NHS frustration

I feel like I'm bashing my head against a brick wall.

I have bipolar disorder, and for around a year now I've been in an acute depressive episode. During this time, I've been back and forward to the GP, who will not review my meds (I don't know many GPs who would play around with a manic depressive's meds). She has tried 3 times to refer me to psychiatry, who, 3 times, have rejected the referral. Apparently, since I am not psychotic or on the verge of hospitalisation, it's not worth them seeing me (is it just me, or is this a bit of a stupid way of going about things - wait until things have escalated to hospital treatment is needed before helping?).

My GP then tried referring me to the PCT's mental health team, who have told her that their waiting lists are too long, so they are not accepting referrals!

So I'm being passed between primary and secondary services, none of whom will see me. My GP is currently my mental health support, and while she is very good, that is not what a GP is there for.

During this year, I have gone from holding down a full time job to struggling to work 10 hours per week. There's no 2 ways about it, we need me to work and in the long term, to be working more than 10 hours. My moods and ability to cope with life are erratic to say the least, and the services that are there to support and treat me just don't give a damn.

I attend a women's centre and one of their workers is trying to help me find some help somewhere, but it's doing my head in, and in my darker moments makes me feel pretty hopeless and worthless. And worse.

Sorry for the moaning, I just needed to get it out, and I thought people here might understand about NHS problems in general.

14 Replies

  • Hi piglet,

    This sounds ridiculous! Have you ever contacted Mind for advice?

    I have had depression in my 30's and ever since then I work hard to look after my mental health so that I hopefully don't experience it to the same level again. I admire you for managing the last year and also starting a new job during that time! xx

  • Piglet that's horrendous. I'm with jf on this, can someone like mind.get involved and champion your case? Ormaybe.complain to your pals service?

    Its really wrong that someone like you who wants to jelp themselves get well and in q stable place is not getting anywhere.

    Big hugs and keep remembering why you want to keep battling.


  • Have you tried complaining to your MP and PCT about the lack of help you are recieving? Is it possible you could get a referral to a location outside your area who are taking referrals?

  • Hi Piglet,

    That is horrendous! I agree with you that they ought to be looking at stopping things getting worse - and also that they really should be trying to help you return to work; no wonder people sometimes give up trying if this is the attitude they get, so it's great that you're not.

    I also agree with Malawi that trying another hospital might help; now I've been to several places for my asthma I did find that they had different attitudes, and although it is a bit more inconvenient, deciding to pick somewhere (with my GP's help) rather than going where I'm sent, even when I'm not getting anywhere, really has seemed to make a difference, and it might do for you in this case. Maybe you could discuss it with your GP and ask her if she has any recommendations? I don't know how much subspecialisation there is in psychiatry, but perhaps there's a clinic somewhere closish - but not the local who've rejected you - who are particularly good with bipolar, or prefer to treat proactively?

    Good luck and really hope you get something sorted! xx

  • Hi Piglet,

    That's horrendous and I agree with what the others have said.

    I hope you manage to get things sorted soon.

  • Piglet, I agree with everyone else, the situation is outrageous and you deserve so much better. It's appalling that while the government is shouting to the rooftops that they want people to come off long term sickness/disability benefit the NHS appears to be blocking every attempt you make to get control of your condition and earn your living.

    I used to work with someone who had the same condition, although it was undiagnosed for years, so I have some small understanding of the difficulties you are facing. My understanding is that there is a chemical imbalance which means that medication is needed to keep your mood in the middle of the swing, so to speak, and that psychiatry isn't the answer, so I don't get why your GP won't help with your meds.

    Is it time to change your GP?

    Sending you positive thoughts and many hugs.


  • Thanks everyone. We're waiting to see what happens with the latest referral - psychiatry are primarily responsible for medication, but can also set in motion referrals for psychological support too. Judging from the experiences of others I know with bipolar, the standard is that someone with that dx is treated by a psychiatrist (I'm not convinced they are following NICE guidelines, and we're probably going to complain). A GP generally doesn't have the expertise to play about with the level of medication I'm on. If I thought my GP was the problem I'd change!

    As to asking to be seen elsewhere - that service isn't an option with mental health! You get options with (I think) all other specialisms, but not psychiatry. Perhaps we're too crazy to make decisions for ourselves ;-S

    My last severe episode was treated under a psychiatrist, they adjusted my meds, they provided day hospital support, and I was recovered enough to return to work after 3 months. They've refused to see me this time, and shock horror, after a whole year I'm still stuck in this position.

    Sorry for moaning, it's just dragging me down, making me feel like I'm not worth helping and making me feel like, actually, there's no hope for me and if they thought there was then I would receive some treatment. It takes me to some dark dark places and puts some bad thoughts into my head :(

  • Ooooo, big hugs Piglet. Sounds like an awful situation to be in. They should certainly be helping you sooner rather than later. I hope you can get the support you need. xx

  • Huge hugs and positive thoughts coming your way piglet.


  • That is appalling piglet, would love to say I am shocked, but sadly I am not. Whilst I am not Bi-Polar I have had previous history of severe depression. I tried for ages to get the help I needed, and got no where. It was only when I was finally at the bottom of a very dark hole did I get the help I needed. The situation in my county is no better many years later, it would appear unless you hit rock bottom there are no open doors. Truly sad reflection of the mental health services, but with so many cut backs I do not see thinks improving. Prevention is better than cure, but all services seem to be experiencing difficulties.

    When you feel well enough, I would write down your experiences and address them to your local MP, with a state wishing to reform the welfare state, they are not helping themselves cutting vital health services. In the long term anyone with long term health difficulties will require more health care if their services are cut. Tell this to your local MP!

  • Great news - psychiatry have finally agreed to see me! It's only taken 4 referrals over the course of a year to get them to agree :-/

    Appointment in August.

  • Great news piglet! Persistence pays off!

  • That's great news Piglet! Did your GP eventually wear them down? Not much longer to wait, at least, if it's in August. Can't believe there's no choice - I knew sometimes you don't get one eg for urgent cancer referrals and maternity, but didn't know same applied to psychiatry.

    Really hope you find it useful. I'm in no way an expert on psychopharmacology but the little I do know, from studying/reading about neuroscience, is that it's a fairly specialist area and different people tend to need different drugs/combinations, so can see why, as you say, your GP didn't want to play about with it - and why you should have been under a psychiatrist to start with!

  • What a relief that they've finally seen sense and accepted the referral. Good luck with your appointment, just keep looking after yourself til then. xx

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