...to give my psychiatrist and CPN a 'goodbye' gift

(16 Posts)
owlborn Thu 02-Jul-15 21:08:54

Second post from me today, and I think this probably should be somewhere else but I've seen a few people posting here who are doctors and so I thought I'd throw it out for traffic.

About a year and a half ago I was in a psych ward, and described as a 'high risk patient'. Upon my release I was under the home treatment team for months before being released to my local CMHT. For the last year they have been truly amazing. They've supported me, helped me, worked with me. When I had a bad blip in the autumn they helped me stay in work - someone (either CPN or psychiatrist) called me at lunchtime and talked me through the day, they've been really good at chasing me down if I wasn't in touch, were non-judgmental when I was struggling with meds and have always been really responsive to my needs, and have been brilliant with supporting DH too who often felt quite alone when dealing with my illness. I recently moved cities, and my CPN in particular went well above the call of duty, in terms of chasing my new CMHT, making sure my referral went through, and telling me to keep calling and and talking to her until she knew I had another support structure in place.

They've been fabulous. However, I now have my new CMHT set up and my old CPN has suggested I come in and say 'goodbye' properly when I'm next in my old home town, but other than that we are done.

I really want to get my CPN and my psychiatrist something nice to say "thank you" for having helped me over the last year, but I'm not sure what, if anything, is appropriate. Are doctors allowed to accept gifts? Is it normal? I don't want them to feel uncomfortable, but I do want to say how much I've appreciated the help and support I've been given. They won't be working with me again in future if that makes a difference.

WhySecretVices Thu 02-Jul-15 21:15:11

Gifts - not so much. But something very small & personal, like a bookmark or pretty stone - absolutely fine. And very welcome usually. A card / letter is good too. The final thing is (if you're able) to write to the Lead Nurse / Chief Nurse / Medical Director - no one ever writes in to say that've had really good care, it absolutely makes nurse's & medic's year when the occasional 'you're really good! Thank you!' Letter comes in to the upper management leves!

Sounds like a tough ride for 18 months flowers

CrystalCove Thu 02-Jul-15 21:20:07

So glad you're doing better. I'm a Psychiatric Nurse and I'm always very touched if a patient buys me a small gift to say thanks - not so much because of the actual gift itself (usually flowers, chocs etc although this is part of it) but because of what the gift actually means - I've made a difference to someone's life. In that respect the cards I receive are especially appreciated and they last (I keep them all) long after the flowers and chocs have gone.

CrystalCove Thu 02-Jul-15 21:22:08

I would second what secret vices said to regarding letter to managemt - this had happened to me once in my career of 15 years and I was speechless.

owlborn Thu 02-Jul-15 21:25:01

OK. Another suggestion. Rather than a personal gift, maybe a card and big box of chocolates or biscuits for the entire team that could be put in the office? I'm not sure how a CMHT office is set up and whether they would have a general area where something nice could be put out? Or cards for the psychiatrist and CPN and then a big box of nice biscuits for everyone?

I will definitely write to the upper management if I can work out who that would be. Would really like to feed back about how awesome they have been.

timtam23 Thu 02-Jul-15 21:26:06

Owlborn I am so glad that you have had help & are feeling stronger. I work in mental health and I think a card, maybe saying what you have said in your post above, would be absolutely lovely. I wouldn't expect a gift and in fact am not really supposed to accept them unless they are low cost (e.g. supermarket box of chocs etc). But a card/letter with a personal message of thanks in it would be kept & long remembered, especially if you have now moved away.

Notfabulousatfourty Thu 02-Jul-15 21:28:33

So good to hear the system is working well for some people smile

Honestly the best 'gift' you can give them is a letter of thanks/praise sent into the local PALS team copying them in.

I was with an ex colleague today who had recieved some fantastic feedback for a service users family....she took me over to read it where she had it pinned on the wall over her desk. It literally made her week and let's be honest it's great for your colleagues to see how valued your work is.

I still have cards written from ex clients from 20 years and more ago!!

As clinicians we are not 'supposed' to accept gifts, I have had clients and family's give me things which I had to 'declare' and It created a bit of anxiety (I did not let this be known in the slightest) I thanked them and meant it with genuine conviction).

But honestly, just some public praise is wonderful.

So pleased to hear your life is back on track smile

owlborn Thu 02-Jul-15 21:28:50

And who is the right person to talk to in a CMHT? I don't know which job title to look for, and the structure of the NHS is a bit of a mystery to me but I'd love to give some positive feedback.

PacificDogwood Thu 02-Jul-15 21:29:30

It is so lovely to read how well supported you felt - MH services can be so patchy and are so pitifully underfunded that it is great to read a positive story thanks

A personal card that pretty much says what you said in your OP would be much treasured and would make their day, I am very sure of that.
An email to management would put your praise up a step and I have yet to meet a ward or staff working at the coal face who don't appreciate some nice chocolates or biscuits grin

But the card with a heartfelt thank you is what makes a difference IMO.

May you go from strength to strength.

littlejohnnydory Thu 02-Jul-15 21:29:42

I made a cross stitch picture for my psychiatrist when she retired. It was a pattern I knew she liked because we'd talked about it months previously. I made a paperweight for a counsellor who had been brilliant. I gave a CPN some flowers. I also wrote a thank you letter. The CPN said she could count on one hand the number of times she'd had a thank you and was really pleased.

timtam23 Thu 02-Jul-15 21:30:43

For the management you can usually find the details on the contacts section of the Trust's website. You could write to the Medical Director, the Chief Executive and the Director of Nursing at the trust headquarters, or to the outpatient services manager (who will be the manager for the CMHT).

A card for the psychiatrist & CPN, and a box of biscuits for the team, is a lovely idea.

Hotpotpie Thu 02-Jul-15 21:33:47

I'm a Psychiatric nurse too, anything over £10 has to be declared. I have to say two of my most treasured gifts were actually beautiful cards thanking me for my time and effort, I think all of my colleagues would say the same, it means an awful lot to know that someone thought enough of your efforts to thank you for them. It's lovely that you are planning on doing the same smile

timtam23 Thu 02-Jul-15 21:34:45

Medical director is a senior doctor & is the psychiatrist's manager/boss, director of nursing is as expected the manager/boss for CPN and the chief executive is in charge of the whole Trust.
Outpatient services manager will answer to the director of nursing but is also themself at senior manager level.

owlborn Thu 02-Jul-15 22:26:13

I definitely think MH care in the NHS is massively underfunded. I still remember the night I was admitted to a psych ward - DH and I sat in the waiting room in A&E, listening to the duty psychiatrist calling round ward after ward, trying to haggle for a bed for me. At one point they thought they might have to just keep me in A&E because no one had room, and I ended up being put in this little ward and trying to go to sleep there, only to be woken up at 2 am, because they'd managed to find room, and bundled into an ambulance in a hospital gown with my jeans pulled on underneath.

The ward I was on was also blatantly underfunded - the staff were stressed and busy, communication wasn't as great as it could be, just because they clearly didn't have the time.

From speaking to other people, referral times are too long (I sort of bypassed that by going from A&E, to in patient, to home treatment team, to CMHT) and I think it's harder to get access to specialist services than it should be and it's very hit and miss when it comes to GPs. I've had amazing GP care on MH issues and I've had at least one GP who I really am not convinced should be dealing with patients with MH issues.

I do, however, have absolute faith in the professionalism and dedication of every single person I've met working in MH services in the NHS and I do think that without the NHS and the people I've met I would not be alive now.

Anon4Now2015 Thu 02-Jul-15 23:34:30

THIS. In fact everything you have said in this entire thread but especially this. Write it down into a letter and send it to them. I've worked in that field and it will mean more to them than any gift you can give them. If you want to copy in their manager or PALS then do, but just send them this - not even some formal wording, just your experiences and the differences these people made in your own words. They will probably keep that letter forever.

MoseShrute Thu 02-Jul-15 23:39:40

I work in MH and thank you cards are massively massively appreciated. Your psychiatrist and CPN would be absolutely delighted to receive one

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