"SLMHS Consultant area change."

About: Sligo/Leitrim Mental Health Services

(as a service user),

Hi, I've recently been informed from a 3rd party that the SLMHS consultants have moved areas, I was surprised as I'd received no prior warning about this.  I feel that the service should inform their clients about such moves as they may have concerns or anxiety's and they may want to discuss any potential changeover issues beforehand.  You can appreciate that clients can and do have a rapport built up with their consultant and further may have complex treatment histories or concerns around ongoing/future treatments that may be affected by having to engage with a new consultant especially as the registers also have to change areas frequently due to the nature of their roles.  

I appreciate that it's necessary and beneficial to move consultants from time to time around the service as it gives them the chance to meet and deal with new patients and indeed gain new and fresh insights and experiences from these moves.  It is also undoubtedly healthy from them to be able to engage with new clients from time to time, however it is incumbent on the service to inform the clients by some means of the move to allay their concerns and anxiety's.
Thank you.     
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Response from Edmond O'Mahony, Executive Clinical Director, Sligo Leitrim Mental Health Service 3 years ago
Edmond O'Mahony
Executive Clinical Director,
Sligo Leitrim Mental Health Service
Submitted on 16/02/2021 at 16:11
Published on Care Opinion at 16:11

picture of Edmond O'Mahony

Dear Service User,

Thank you for posting and for making what I feel is a very good point. It is true we recently saw a change in a number of consultants within the adult Community Mental Health Teams. I also agree that it can be beneficial to service users when changes are made from time to time, as this can allow teams to evolve and improve. We made some similar changes to the consultants in 2014 and it coincided with the strengthening of the Community Mental Health Teams at that time, which has been maintained since then.

On this occasion, the changes were necessary in order to accommodate further positive developments within the mental health service, particularly the roll-out of the new multi-disciplinary team for addressing the needs of adults with ADHD and also to give protected time for the clinical director to address management issues. In doing this, the service has strengthened its consultant complement. I believe that these developments will have a positive impact on our service users.

I take on board the point made about the communication of the changes to service users. I would say that there are changes in personnel in teams all the time and it is not generally our policy to inform service users each time this happens. Admittedly though, for some service users, a change in consultant may be quite a significant issue.

On this occasion, as at the last time there was a change around of the consultants, the decision was made not to formally inform all service users in advance about the forthcoming changes. Sending written communications to all service users can bring its own difficulties such as anxiety or confidentiality concerns. Making phone-calls to people who are not expecting them can similarly cause concerns.

However, in light of your story, I would suggest that this is something that our management team should discuss with the Lead for Mental Health Engagement and Service User Representatives from the Local Forum when they join us for our management team meeting in the near future. I can ask our business manager to include it as a discussion point.

I regret that you felt this way, but I am glad - and grateful - that you have taken the time to articulate the points so clearly. We will take it this further and post any changes made on the Care Opinion Website in due course.


Dr Ed O'Mahony MB MRCPsych

Executive Clinical Director

Sligo Leitrim Mental Health Service

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

Update posted by A service user (a service user)

Dear Dr O'Mahony,

Thank you for your very considered and detailed reply it was much appreciated.

Firstly I want to apologize, I realize that the comments may have come across as criticism which I'd hoped to avoid doing, nor was it meant in anyway to make you feel that I'm angry or upset, it had merely caught me unawares that the change had occurred. You rightly point out that changes do occur frequently and it would not make any sense to have to inform or communicate this to clients, equally you also raise the conundrum of how to communicate any major change of the consultants to the areas they cover.

You are correct that communicating any information brings about its own problems and I agree that clients may become anxious about any such notification and equally ensuring confidently of communications would also create its own difficulties.

I'm glad that you feel the issue is something that should be looked at during your meeting. I realize that you have many other more important issues to discuss in these meeting and I appreciate that you will set aside the time to consider if there are any options to address this, indeed there may not be any options given it's potential complexities.

I thank you for taking the time to reply to my comments, keep safe, well and positive in these difficult times.

A service user.

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