Letter: Horrors of the mental hospital

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The Independent Online
LUCY'S MOTHER'S story mirrored my own bitter experience seven years ago when my equally beautiful and talented daughter had a psychotic breakdown which brought me many times to the doors of the Maudsley Hospital ("It could be you or me", 25 July).

I, too, was horrified at the dirty wards, torn sheets, floor and furniture covered in cigarette burns, and lack of nursing care. The difficult patients and the frightened were lumped together with nothing but cigarettes and television to distract them. My daughter has had a succession of junior psychiatrists who all have different ideas on diagnosis and treatment which has resulted in my daughter - who is bilingual, has a degree, and is a talented chef - becoming chronically sick, unable to work and going in and out of the Maudsley at depressingly regular intervals.

I did try to complain but was eventually worn down by the bureaucracy of the NHS. I have now resigned myself to this reality, as have most of the patients. I consider the NHS to have completely failed my daughter and the taxpayer who funds this travesty of care, and am at a loss to understand how the Maudsley earned its reputation as a centre for excellence in British psychiatric care.

LIZ STEPHEN

Aldeburgh, Suffolk

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