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Uk Members - Slowness Of Nhs And Private Options?


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Hi guys,

sorry if wrong forum. Been here a while. To cut a long story short I've been depressed since my 11 (Im 29 now). Was diagnosed 3 yrs ago and have been up and down from 5 - 60mg citalopram since.

I've worked full time through most of it. I've just allowed myself to be written off for 2 weeks as I work in a University and I can. Had counselling twice. Once for 12 weeks, 1 session at my work place that I knew wasn't right so offered it to someone else. Talking through my problems isn't what I need.

I've started the mental health team process before to access cbt, but by the time I get in I'm happy on citalopram and I can't access other therapies because at that point I'm feeling pretty happy.

High doses of citalopram don't agree with other parts of my body. And I can't face the 4-6 weeks hell of a med change. I'm not on Bupa and I'm looking at exploring private options so I can get help when I need it.

Any advice from other UK NHS'ers around? Your experience? My best friend is an OT in mental health but she's on hol for a month and I ain't putting this on her again.

Thanks!

Anton

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I am sorry, I don't understand what you are asking, I am very 'fuzzy' today and am not understanding much at all. My NHS experience hasn't been too good so far, I am about to go through my 3rd medication change in a year and am dreading it. I don't know about the private options in the UK as I am being treated by the NHS, even though I am with BUPA (through my partner) as my last bout came just after he'd joined they wouldn't let me claim (been suffering for 15 years but didn't get help until last year) for any counselling. He ended up paying privtately for my counselling for a few sessions.

I hope someone else can help you, sorry I couldn't.

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Thanks for trying. My head's fuzzy too and perhaps I didn't make much sense.

Just wondering how people have got on with NHS, how to hurry things up... or should I just try and find a way of paying for private consultations instead of waiting months. Anyone sacked off the NHS completely?

I've got no chance of Bupa as it's classed as an existing condition - I believe they only cover new ones.

Sorry if I'm babbling. First day of upping dosage again as I'm too scared to change meds as they kinda work but bad side effects.

Thanks!

Edited by tekgrl
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Heylo. I have had the ups and downs of the NHS too. I too can't get private medical cover since it is an existing condition. I would say perhaps give different meds a chance? I have had to go through about 15 to get ones which work for me....I know sometimes there are side effects but usually they are very short-lived, if at all.

How do you get the NHS to hurry up? Well if you find the answer, let me know. Once you get a referral to a CMHT quite often you don't get to see a psychiatrist and then you get offered therapy. One thing I find is to really push the point you have just said - if you wait and wait and wait then you'll be at an up-stage, and ask your GP to write a letter when you're v low to say SEE ME NOW. I still had to wait a month and I had suicidal tendencies of which they were aware during that period which still didn't make the wait any less.

MIND the charity also do great groups in some areas - perhaps look on their website.

In terms of being seen privately - what are you looking into? Therapy options? x

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Hi I'm was referred for counseling last October, I waited for the phone interview more than a month (end of Nov) and I am still waiting for them to call me for an appointment, but I am on the waiting list. That is my experience so far. I get obsessed and everyday I think about that counseling for hours. I'm fed up with waiting. I know some people wait even more but it is exhausting me. I don't what other options there are. I think you can refer yourself but it's not gonna happen faster.

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Thanks for the input, I'm scared of changing meds - it was bad enough dealing with the first ones and I've tried to come down slowly and I'm the breadwinner in my family. I might use next lots of holidays to try another one, but that's probably a post for another forum.

My best friend is an Occupational Therapist in mental health who escaped NHS and works in a charity now with young people. She reckons I need to see an expert psychiatrist and CBT. She also thinks I have anxiety and ocd - but GPs concentrate on the depression.

I think I need to figure out what I've got (if you can even define it), get some drugs that help and make a plan for the future and try and resolve stuff. I don't want to throw my career down the loo and can pay bills etc. If I have to beg parents for money to do private I will, or we will work extra to afford it. I need to be able to see someone in 24 hrs or something - do private people like that exist? I know they don't in NHS. But an expert psychiatrist seems like a good start.

My current meds are ok, they keep me sane and able to work mostly but they don't agree with my body in other ways - side effects. First ones I've ever tried.

I've known people do the med changes - but they have been supported financially and not had to work.

Anyway thanks for all the advice! Really helpful to know people's experiences and I know it can depend on area. I'm in Bradford and I know Leeds is different.

TekGrl

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Hi absent, I did the 12 week counselling thing. It was very basic but it gets you used to talking about stuff and understanding your probs. Do change counseller if you don't think it's working. I've seen a terrible one recently - made me appreciate the old one.

It's a start - and one of the NHS hoops to jump through to get access to better services. Ring the service u have been referred to, chase it up. Find out about waiting lists. Find out if there's another area u can come under if u have options where you go. Find out about different waiting lists - I've known people change docs and addresses to friends house to get a 2 month waiting list down to 2 weeks. Drastic tho. Sometimes u can get counselling through work, but only if you work somewhere in a large organisation where there's no prejudice. The only place like that I've found is the University.

Try MIND like the other member suggested.

Good luck keep strong xx

Hi I'm was referred for counseling last October, I waited for the phone interview more than a month (end of Nov) and I am still waiting for them to call me for an appointment, but I am on the waiting list. That is my experience so far. I get obsessed and everyday I think about that counseling for hours. I'm fed up with waiting. I know some people wait even more but it is exhausting me. I don't what other options there are. I think you can refer yourself but it's not gonna happen faster.

Edited by tekgrl
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Hi absent, I did the 12 week counselling thing. It was very basic but it gets you used to talking about stuff and understanding your probs. Do change counseller if you don't think it's working. I've seen a terrible one recently - made me appreciate the old one.

It's a start - and one of the NHS hoops to jump through to get access to better services. Ring the service u have been referred to, chase it up. Find out about waiting lists. Find out if there's another area u can come under if u have options where you go. Find out about different waiting lists - I've known people change docs and addresses to friends house to get a 2 month waiting list down to 2 weeks. Drastic tho. Sometimes u can get counselling through work, but only if you work somewhere in a large organisation where there's no prejudice. The only place like that I've found is the University.

Try MIND like the other member suggested.

Good luck keep strong xx

Hi there, thank you for the great advice. Actually today I Decided to do just that and called them but I think it was after work hours because no one answered but I'm gonna try again on Monday. I know MIND have a looong waiting list and the one I'm in was supposed to be 2-3 months, I know I'm also included in three different areas where I can travel but I Also travel a lot to work so I might try that as well. It is really a good advice, thank you.

The other thing that worries me is the cbt, I think I might have also personality disorders or I might be even dystimic.. Do you think they will be able to diagnose me properly?

Sorry guys for spamming the thread. I just don't have anyone else to ask.

Best wishes to all.

Edited by absent
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I find diagnoses a weird thing in the country. In the US they feel the need to label conditions so that it can be labelled for private health care insurance claims.

I think it's only mental health experts that diagnose you properly and you need a proper psychological assessment.

My friend who's an OT says the best option is an expert psychiatrist... but I'm not sure how you access them. Do the counselling it will help you talk about stuff and possibly understand your head a bit more, but I can only speak from mine and friends' experiences. I'll keep this post updated - hopefully will get some more info.

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The NHS scare me in there lack of drug control, The doctor who first diagnosed me about 3 years ago put me on clitapram repeat prescription (even though he said he only wanted me on them for a few months) and left me that way for 2 1/2 years until they stopped been as affective and I had to go back to the surgery to change meds, since then (different doctor) they have tried two different meds on me both unsuccessful but at least this doctor had me back every month to see how I was getting on. My new doctor is both great and poor for me at the same time, he spends so long with each patient that I end up in the waiting room for about an hour, this makes me very anxious and unwell, but once I am in there he really listens to me.

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That sounds awful and bad practice.

I'm not allowed citalopram on repeat. I go back every 2 months and do the PHQ9 questionnaire and talk about. I've changes doc now as the old one, although by the book, could be very abrupt and un-sympathetic.

They should check you every week at first then to every 2 months when you're stable.

If you want to see what docs are advised to do - check out the NICE guidelines (google it) they taught me lots about the NHS procedures they aren't that hard to read or even skim. There's ones for depression I think and it outlines what docs should do. My OT friend told me that. I'm not sure if it's the law or just good bad practice tho.

Find a good doc you get on with and checks how you really are. Make double appointments if you need to then you're not rushed. Make sure they listen.

Good luck - talk to people on here. There's a lot of sense and good advice, just remember US and UK are different in terms of processes and meds and names.

xxx

The NHS scare me in there lack of drug control, The doctor who first diagnosed me about 3 years ago put me on clitapram repeat prescription (even though he said he only wanted me on them for a few months) and left me that way for 2 1/2 years until they stopped been as affective and I had to go back to the surgery to change meds, since then (different doctor) they have tried two different meds on me both unsuccessful but at least this doctor had me back every month to see how I was getting on. My new doctor is both great and poor for me at the same time, he spends so long with each patient that I end up in the waiting room for about an hour, this makes me very anxious and unwell, but once I am in there he really listens to me.

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Guest Talesin

It is as difficult as anything to get proper help for mental illness on the NHS. It is overstrained (no suprise there) and there seems in my experience to be a leaning to crisis help only. I have had depression all my life and have been treated for 14 years and only now that I have a new doctor who has become concerned at the lack of success through medication (I've tried a good percentage of drugs on the list) have I been admitted to the mental health system properly. Having gone through a recent crisis where I was referred to the mental health crisis team I found that their only concern is that you are not about to **** yourself right now! Like on the phone talking to them! However I have now been referred to a psychiatrist as an urgent case which entails a wait of 6 weeks, which doesn't come into urgent in my books. I think the only way to get quick and immediate help is to completely lose the plot and either od or threaten to chuck yourself off the local high rise at which point you'll get admitted to the mental health unit. I am not advising either of the above- really- I've been in a really bad place but NOTHING is worth that so don't try it! It is more a criticism of the system, cure not prevention.

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I totally agree with Talesin. There simply isn't the budget or capacity to provide the service with one week follow-ups on med changes on a GP basis (or on a psych basis unless you are extremely unstable and even then it is rare). Suffice to say though that GPs are quite knowledgable about side effects and the risks etc of not following-up their patients but it simply isn't feasible to follow-up every week. Often it takes longer to have an effect and they obviously ask you to go back if you feel you are having side effects which are either severe or long-lasting. For me that seems reasonable.

I too have had the response that unless you are about to ** yourself then your "urgent" appointment will be 6 weeks at least.....but that is because of the way the system is set up....

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Haha, the private system. Depends on who you find and where, and whether you want therapy and/or a psychiatrist. Most psychs work on both a private basis and an NHS basis so standard of care is the same. Perhaps sometimes less privately since you "pay" for 30 mins/ 60 mins but quite often do not need that time. Therapy-wise - many therapists which operate on their own etc are very good - but not necessarily better than NHS. Luck of the draw. I started day-therapy at the Priory and left after two days - group therapy was extremely generic CBT and exceedingly expensive on a per hour basis. Just my experience though! I don't have private medical insurance anymore so continue to see private psych from before (sigh - expensive) since am not fully back into the CMHT system yet.

My psych is £175/per hour but usually 30 min sessions. Have had quite a few private therapy experiences - £60-£130/hour. Day-therapy at Priory near me (group therapy and no psych/doctor support) was about £280/half day.

Edited by taj0112
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Thanks for that, really good to hear your experiences. Helps me weigh everything up. If you don't mind me asking, what NHS trust area do you fall under? Thanks!

Haha, the private system. Depends on who you find and where, and whether you want therapy and/or a psychiatrist. Most psychs work on both a private basis and an NHS basis so standard of care is the same. Perhaps sometimes less privately since you "pay" for 30 mins/ 60 mins but quite often do not need that time. Therapy-wise - many therapists which operate on their own etc are very good - but not necessarily better than NHS. Luck of the draw. I started day-therapy at the Priory and left after two days - group therapy was extremely generic CBT and exceedingly expensive on a per hour basis. Just my experience though! I don't have private medical insurance anymore so continue to see private psych from before (sigh - expensive) since am not fully back into the CMHT system yet.

My psych is £175/per hour but usually 30 min sessions. Have had quite a few private therapy experiences - £60-£130/hour. Day-therapy at Priory near me (group therapy and no psych/doctor support) was about £280/half day.

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No problem. Overall I'd say obviously NHS has a wait and all private places/people I have seen do not.....but not saying my care is better once I got there!

I'm currently in Surrey and Borders (recently moved) but was in South West London and St. Georges.

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Guest Talesin

UK Hooray. If you have enough money on this planet you can buy anything! But guess what? It is the root cause of the rest of the problems of the f****ng planet. The rest of us have to deal with the system. And it sucks. So if you can afford private therapy FANTASTIC - and for the rest of us including all the other countries in the world where they can't afford or are ashamed to go for help on mental issues tough s*** OK!

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Talesin,

I'm sorry my post made you feel that way. I'm certainly not in a position to afford it, but my partner said he would take on another job and my mum although retired and still poor would try and help. It would be a big sacrifice financially and maybe would even have to take out a loan, but wondering if it's worth it. I wish I had lots of money to throw at it - but tbh that might still not help. From what I've heard private has it's own problems.

I know it's crap, I've lost faith in the NHS and I know some areas are better than others for systems.

T.

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Anyone been lucky to afford to go private? Are there any better services there and how much are we talking? My GP is looking into it for me.

Thanks! x

I go to a private psychiatrist and psychologist for treatment. But its only because my insurance affords me too. I think it makes a big difference as I don't have to wait weeks or months. I am currently meeting with psychologist for therapy twice a week and psychiatrist twice a month. If something comes up I'm able to reschedule another appt within the same week if I cancel between on a Monday or Tuesday. So I'm grateful for the my insurance. My co-payment is $20 per appt until I reach an out of the pocket limit of $1000 everything is free. I wish the best for you. I'm in the USA.

Lindahurt

Edited by lindahurt
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I've seen somewhere online that private is between £40 an £100 for an hour which doesn't seem impossibly hight if you have a full time job. I would imagine once a forthnight would be perfect, but there is no way I can conferm that. I would also like to know, because I have huge doubts that cbt will work for me since I don't believe I have negative thinking and I also believe my thinking represents the way I feel and state I'm in, so in future I might decide to go private (if I can afford it). I would love some feedback about the prices. Thanks.

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On another note - I spoke to the NHS Mental Health Team in my area and it's currently 2 weeks waiting list for initial assessment (I've had a couple of these before but need to start process again). Obviously it depends on what happens after that and what they think I need and waiting lists vary of course.

2 weeks not bad for NHS - but I know the Bradford area has a faster access to mental health therapies scheme introduced a couple of years ago.

Hope that info helps someone :

T.

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