"Concerned about discharge of mental health patient"

About: Northern Beaches Hospital / Emergency Department

(as a parent/guardian),

We arrived at the Northern Beaches Hospital late one afternoon in an ambulance with my child who had attempted to commit suicide.

My child spoke with a psychologist at around 3.00 am, who left advising they would need to make an assessment as to whether my child should be admitted or discharged. At 4.00 am we were advised we would be discharged from someone unfamiliar.

My child could barely walk, I was half asleep, it was freezing outside and as my spouse had left the car for me we wandered around looking for it. No one from the mental health team spoke with us on our departure, no information given as to what to do next, or what we could expect from someone who had taken an overdose of tablets.

Due to fatigue we just wanted to get home to our beds. I really should not have been driving and my child, in retrospect, should not have been discharged.

When we arrived home, we received a call from the hospital advising we should not have been discharged and that someone from the crisis team would call us that day.

It is now four days later and we have not heard from the crisis team.

We sourced several organisations for our child and it took most of the week before we heard from anyone. If my child had to source help for themselves it would have been impossible. I took the entire week off work to make calls, and send emails.

Finally, today we had a community care organisation come to our house, they have been so helpful, but again this was all driven by us parents, our child is not in a position to be able to help themselves.

Our main concern is what would have happened had our child been discharged from the hospital alone at 4.00 am into the freezing cold after an overdose and what happened to any follow-up.

Our child's GP was also not notified.


Response from Patient Opinion, Patient Opinion Australia

Patient Opinion has published this response on behalf of Northern Beaches Hospital.

Dear tangokq45,

Thank you for taking the time to share your experience. I am so very sorry to read about your experience with our hospital and am concerned with the issues you have raised around the clinical treatment and discharge of your child when they were experiencing serious mental health concerns.

I would really like to investigate the concerns you have raised. The hospital’s Patient Experience Team investigates all feedback from patients and I would like to encourage you to make contact with us. The Team can be reached on 02 9105 5979 or feedback.nbh@healthscope.com.au.

Thank you again for making contact. We really appreciate your feedback for without it we would not be aware of this issue and would not have the opportunity to improve our service.

Yours sincerely

Paula Smith

Patient Experiences Manager

Northern Beaches Hospital

  • {{helpful}} {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} this response is helpful

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