Summary of report content
In March 2018, the Healthwatch Kingston upon Thames Mental Health Task Group began to undertake a service user review of the iCope Kingston Psychological Therapies Service which is available for people registered with a GP in the Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames. They spoke to 49 people via a survey and interviews.
When therapy worked well, participants were delighted with the iCope Kingston service, the treatment, the choice of therapist and the new skills that they have acquired to cope and stay calm. Kindness, empathy, and non-judgemental were qualities found to be supportive, professional, and reassuring and especially when individual needs were taken into consideration.
Respondents suggested that literature, guidance, and advice would be very useful for those providing support for loved ones suffering from depression or anxiety. Participants felt that some form of interim support between the initial iCope assessment and first appointment would be useful. People felt that more service provision is needed to support people with ongoing challenges whist they wait for an appointment.
Participants raised concerns about administrative staff not being kind enough, the environment not being friendly enough and some clinicians not being experienced enough. The time from assessment to treatment was mixed, it ranged from, just right for some people’s circumstances, but too lengthy for others.
Reminders for appointments were reassuring as was information provision for the waiting period, the kind of therapy and different treatment options available.
Failure to call back at an appointed time and failure to respond to answering machine messages were unacceptable. In seeking to communicate with the service people found access difficult and this was inhibiting. People experienced inflexibility when people’s personal commitments clashed with appointment schedules, even when they clashed with other medical appointments, hospital attendance and school runs, and people felt they were being treated as difficult.
Some types of therapy were thought of as unsuitable by participants, and others were unavailable. Participants sensed there to be inadequate provision within the iCope Kingston service, and felt the service appeared overwhelmed and probably underfunded.
Participants felt the treatment built up their confidence levels, to learn structure, to discover what they are doing right so they can improve upon it, to learn different ways of thinking, to set goals and to establish a positive mind-set which helps them to stay calm and to reduce their depression and anxiety levels. This service has had a positive impact on many peoples’ lives, and many felt privileged to have received treatment and help. However, reports were raised about administrative staff not being kind enough, the environment not being friendly enough and some clinicians not seeming experienced enough.
The report contains nine recommendations and a response from the provider.