The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), NHS England (NHSE) and NHS Improvement (NHSI) appear to have decided to ignore the third Inadequate report from care regulator, Care Quality Commission (CQC) and are trying to kick the can down the road yet again, leaving the Chief Executive of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT), Antek Lejk, and his Board of Shame in charge of mental health services in Norfolk and Suffolk.
We cannot tolerate this abdication of the duty to protect the public any longer: more than 250 people have died at NSFT over the past five years. That’s an extra funeral every week.
We now need to hold those responsible for the current disastrous toleration of repeated failure and unnecessary deaths to account: the mental health Mid Staffs must be stopped. We are going to protest and request meetings at the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS Improvement and NHS England and meet our local MPs in the Palace of Westminster on Monday 17th December 2018 and we ask you to join us to demand immediate action to stop the crisis in mental health services in Norfolk and Suffolk.
We wrote to the current Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Suffolk MP Matthew Hancock, in 2014, more than four years ago, warning him of the worsening crisis in mental health services in Norfolk and Suffolk. He didn’t even reply. Now is the time for him to do the right thing and sack the Board and senior management of NSFT and bring in new and competent management from the best NHS trusts in the country.
Paul Watson has been regional director at NHS England responsible for the east of England since 2012: the entire period of the crisis in mental health services, from the disastrous ‘radical redesign’ to the imposition of Antek Lejk as Chief Executive of NSFT, despite Lejk’s concerning track record as a manager and commissioner and Lejk’s rejection by service users and carers as unappointable and offensive. We warned Paul Watson that Antek Lejk’s appointment would lead to continued failure but he ignored us. Paul Watson needs to stop pretending that NSFT’s failure is nothing to do with him and NHS England.
Dale Bywater is Executive Regional Managing Director (Midlands and East) of NHS Improvement. NHS Improvement prematurely withdrew its decent and successful Improvement Director which led directly to NSFT’s second CQC failure and second special measures. After that second failure, NHS Improvement appointed Philippa Slinger as Improvement Director at NSFT. She has presided over continuing failure at NSFT, culminating in NSFT’s third CQC failure. CQC inspectors found that NSFT’s performance had become worse under NHS Improvement’s so-called ‘improvement regime’.
We can help with train fares and transport costs. If you would like to join us in London and need financial support, please send an email us to email@example.com and we will help you. Financial concerns will not stop you from joining us to demand decent mental health services (if you want to help us meet the cost you can help us here).
Campaigners will be meeting at Norwich train station at 0800 to catch the 0830 train which arrives in London at 1019. Campaigners will be joining the train at Diss (0847) and Ipswich (0908). We will try to have a banner in the window so you will be able to find us on the train and we will give mobile telephone contact numbers. We will also wait after the ticket barriers at London Liverpool Street to meet campaigners there. We invite mental health campaigners from London and other parts of the country to join and support us.
Our first protest will be outside at Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) at Richmond House, 79 Whitehall, London SW1A 2NS. We will take the Circle Line to Westminster tube station and walk from there (taxis can be arranged with those who need them). We will protest at the Department of Health from 1100 to 1200.
We will then go to the nearby Palace of Westminster, where we have requested to meet our MPs in the Central Lobby between 1300 and 1400 (we need to allow about 45 minutes to get through heightened security after the five minute walk). Please let us know the name of your MP or your postcode in advance so that we can let them know that you want to talk to them about the complacency and inaction about the crisis in mental health services in Norfolk and Suffolk. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
After talking to whichever of our MPs decide to meet us, we will then travel to NHS Improvement’s offices at Wellington House, 133-155 Waterloo Road, London SE1 8UG. We will take the 211 bus. We will protest outside NHS Improvement’s offices from 1430 to 1530.
Off-peak train journeys from London Liverpool Street to Ipswich and Norwich are restricted between 1601 and 1859. Campaigners who need to travel back to Norfolk and Suffolk early will therefore need to leave the protest at 1500 to return to Liverpool Street station to catch the 1600 train to Norwich.
Those who can or wish to stay in London and catch the 1900 or later trains to East Anglia will travel onto NHS England’s offices at Skipton House, 80 London Road, London SE1 6LH. We will travel to NHS England’s office by taking the 68, 188, 168, 1 or 176 bus to Elephant & Castle. We will protest outside NHS England’s offices from 1600 and 1700.
We will then drink, eat and return home having done all we can to raise the profile of the disgrace that is the mental health equivalent of the Mid Staffs scandal in the nation’s capital with those who are trying to ignore it.