"All I want is what my rights are."

About: Rockingham Kwinana Mental Health Service (Adult)

(as the patient),

I went to Kwinana & Rockingham Mental Health Unit 2 years ago. I was suicidal because of harassment and trouble, so I moved here to get away. 

Staff from the unit came to see me 3 or 4 time. They said I had thoughts of suicide, but didn't think I was likely to act on these thoughts. The psychologist said I needed to go on a better medication. I also needed to go on a heart monitor while taking the medication. My rhythms were too high, so then I couldn't go on that medication. The psychologist then put me on another medication. But this doctor didn't tell me the side effects of this medication. He had only given me choices of 3 medications I could take, but I have since found out that there are other choices he could have told me about. 

While I was taking my medications, my partner and I did some research. My partner said he thought I didn't need to be on the dose of one of the medications I was taking and that I should reduce my dose, so I did. I have always had schizophrenia with paranoia and hallucination, but the psychiatrist said that I was having paranoia and hallucinations because I had reduced that medication. He said I wasn't compliant with my medication, so I needed to have an injection instead. He said I wouldn't need to take my tablets and could come in once a month for my injection instead and I wouldn't need any other medication. The injection was free, so I thought I would do this because it otherwise costs me a lot of money to buy my medication. When I sat down to have my injection the doctor said, don't fight it. I couldn't understand why the psychiatrist was saying don't be aggressive and don't fight it, when I was sitting there quietly having the injection.

My partner and I did some research about the injection and found out that if you are grossly overweight you can go into a coma, have a heart attack and there are other nasty side effects. I am morbidly obese and my diabetes is already high, but the doctor didn't tell me about these side effects.

An advocate took me to my GP because I didn't want to go back to the psychologist because I had lost trust in him. I was then able to have the injections at my GP's practice. I asked my GP for a referral to a private psychologist who I had heard has a good reputation. But when I called to make an appointment, I found out it was going to be extremely expensive. 

My advocate then phoned Kwinana & Rockingham Mental Health to see if I could go back to see them again. They said if I came back I would have to relinquish seeing my GP. At first I thought they meant I couldn't see my GP at all, but when they were asked they just meant for my mental health care. I need to be able to have trust in the psychiatrist. I just trust people and think they know that they are doing and that they are telling me what I should know. I feel that I have been taken advantage of in a number of different aspects of my healthcare. 

All I want is what my rights are. I should be given all the information and I shouldn't have to ask about things that are happening to me. I want to feel like I can trust the people who are caring for me. 

Responses

Response from Kath Smith, Executive Director, Rockingham Peel Group, South Metropolitan Health Service

picture of Kath Smith

Dear Should not have to ask,

Thank you for sharing your story and providing feedback on your experience within our mental health service. I am sorry that you feel you have been taken advantage of, we take patients' rights very seriously. Our mental health service prides itself on consumer involvement, and would usually involve patients in their care and advise them of any risks related to medications. I am sorry to hear that on this occasion your experience was that this didn't happen and that there was confusion regarding who you should receive your mental health care from. Our Rockingham and Peel clinics provide a medical review service and aim to work closely with GPs. Your GP can make a request to our ATT team by making a referral and the outcome of the review will be provided both to you and your GP.

Once again thank you for taking the time to feedback to us.

Kind regards,

Kath Smith

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