Written by a NHS patient
24th September 2023
I was referred to PUK for both Autism and ADHD.
The initial information gathering they did seemed fairly thorough, if slightly repetitive in places.
There were forms and questionnaires for both me and family members, asking for details of various aspects of my life and childhood development.
The consultation appointments I had for both referrals were completed by the same psychiatrist doctor.
He made me feel at ease, explained the different types of questions that would be asked, and how they related to the diagnostic criteria before beginning. This helped me understand why certain things would be asked, and made me feel as though I would be able to share my experiences that would be relevant.
In the appointments it was checked that I was in a safe environment to give open and honest answers.
The discussions that we had were quite in-depth, and both appointments ended up taking about 3 hours each.
Being referred for both things, and having the same doctor for both meant I was able to reference questions and answers from the previous session, but also gave room to discuss the interplay of symptoms, and where various overlaps with potential explanations occurred. Though I understand that this may not be the case for others who have multiple referrals, as you may get different doctors for each.
At the end of both appointment he recapped the different criteria and how applicable each was to my answers in the call and from the pre-appointment forms. I was also given the opportunity to question this, and provide additional comments.
Shortly after each appointment I received a copy pf the letter sent to my GP outlining the results, with various recommendations for further help and information.
The diagnoses confirmed both ADHD and autism.
As part of the ADHD referral, PUK provided services for finding a medication plan that worked for me.
They use different staff for diagnosis and medication titration.
The initial prescriber that was assigned to me was the only significant negative aspect, for me, with PUK's process.
After some frustration at this one individuals poorer communication and continuous misunderstandings that I could not resolve with them, I wrote to and asked the administrative staff to assign a new prescriber.
The administrative staff member who responded arranged a video call to go through any issues that I had and assured me that they would be addressed, and where appropriate, fed back to management for consideration.
I was then assigned a new prescriber.
This new person was back at the excellent level of communication and explained every aspect of what was happening and why that I had come to expect from my time talking to my diagnostic psychologist.
They sent documentation about the medication and any potential issues or dangers with others I was already on.
I feel that PUK took a good level of precaution and appropriateness to their use of stimulate medications, taking into account other medications I required and family medical history. (I wish I didn't have to say when a medical service does this well, but I know from experience that some other places do not consider these things as much as they should)
After multiple medicine reviews, a few changes of dosage both up and down, and several weeks of monitoring, we have arrived at a treatment plan that appears to be helping with my symptoms with minimised negative side effects. (Part of the time and efficacy of this is due to my circumstances, and other health considerations. I know this will vary from person to person)
As someone who struggles with face-to-face appointments, or telephone only calls, I am very glad that that they provide text based messaging options and video calls.
PUK's waiting times have grown since I was referred, but are still lower than many other services.
Response from Psychiatry-UK
Thank you for leaving such a detailed review. This level of feedback is incredibly useful, both to ourselves (to identify any areas for improvement), but also to those who may be researching our service and are unsure about what to expect. I have noted the concerns you raised at the start of your titration, but it sounds as though your issues were quickly dealt with and you were able to progress smoothly after this with finding an effective treatment plan. It is really good to hear that your overall experience of our service has been so positive and that you have found it easy to work with our patient portal.