The health secretary has agreed to meet a nurse who claims her daughter has attempted suicide because of delays in getting the right treatment for depression from her local trust.
The case was raised in the House of Commons this week, when Geoffrey Robinson, Labour MP for Coventry North West, read out a letter from Sarah Hardy, who has been a nurse for 26 years.
“When it is our time of need, we can expect a service that meets our needs”
“I’m somebody who works in the NHS so I understand the strains the service is under,” she said in the letter.
“But I also expect as a family who gave so much to society and still do, when it is our time of need, we can expect a service that meets our needs,” she added.
In the letter, Ms Hardy described her 18-year-old daughter’s treatment as “dreadful” and said she had not had a mental health assessment over six months.
Responding to the reading of the letter, Jeremy Hunt said the situation was “not good enough” and he was “more than happy to meet” with Ms Hardy. Ahead of any meeting, he told MPs he would like “to try and look at the particular issue as to why she’s having to wait so long”.
“We owe a huge debt to people like that and what she is describing in terms of her own… daughter’s treatment is just not satisfactory,” he said. “It’s not good enough.”
Mr Hunt was speaking on Monday during a Commons session on mental Health and NHS performance, which followed a raft of highly-publicised policy announcements on mental health by the prime minister earlier in the day.
- Prime minister announces new mental health policies
- RCN calls for more investment in mental health nurses
The treatment provider involved in the case highlighted by Mr Robinson, Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust, said it had attempted to contact Ms Hardy on Tuesday to “resolve any wait for care”.
Trust chief executive Simon Gilby said: “Our top priority is to provide good quality care for the patients we serve, and our staff work hard to always do our best, and to respond promptly and appropriately to any referral we receive.
“We have been in touch with the family today to make sure we meet their needs and that we do everything we can to resolve any wait for care they feel they are experiencing,” he said.
Excerpt from Hansard detailing exchange between Jeremy Hunt and Geoffrey Robinson
“At 9.30 am today I received an email from a constituent in Coventry who asked me to bring it to the Secretary of State’s attention; I am delighted to do so. She writes as follows: ‘I am a nurse with 26 years’ experience who has always worked full time and has paid my tax and national insurance without ever having to burden the government, social services or the NHS in my lifetime but have gladly served and given 100% to it’.
“She continues: ’Unfortunately, my 18 year old daughter has recently become unwell mentally and attempted suicide twice in a three week period…I am really sad to say that the care she has been given has been dreadful. I am somebody who works in the NHS so I understand the strains the service is under but I also expect that as a family who give so much to society that when it is our time of need that we can expect a service that meets our needs’.
“I ask the secretary of state whether he will kindly agree to meet Mrs Hardy and me – Sarah Hardy is the lady’s name – or arrange for her to meet somebody who can give her some sort of reassurance. She continues that she has been waiting six months without any mental health assessment or support from the NHS—six months for a daughter of 18 years of age. Will he agree to do that so that it is not just a case of more hollow words?”
“I am more than happy to meet Mrs Hardy, but ahead of that I would like to look at the particular issue of why she has had to wait for so long. The honourable gentleman put it very eloquently, and she put it very eloquently, and we owe a huge debt to such people. What she has described with her 19-year-old daughter’s treatment is just not satisfactory: it is not good enough. That is why the prime minister talked this morning about the injustice of having to wait so long for treatment, and that is exactly what we are trying to put right.”