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EDP: Improving figures, but mental health campaigners say more needs to be done or ‘expect more deaths’

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Donna-Louise Bishop of the Eastern Daily Press reports:

Campaigners for better mental health provisions say more needs to be done to protect the regions’s most vulnerable patients from being sent hundreds of miles away for treatment.

It comes following a meeting of the board of directors for Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT), in which bosses of the trust praised improvements to the number of so-called out-of-area placements.

The Campaign to Save Mental Health Services in Norfolk and Suffolk has branded the statistics “partial and misleading”.

Just look at the graph below.

Back in April, out of area placements reached its peak when 90 patients were placed outside of their home county.

That figure has now reduced to 23, correct as of September 6, but is still higher than figures reported during NSFT’s third inadequate rating by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) back in January 2019.

So, the out of area bed situation is much worse than it was during the last failed CQC inspection but NSFT is claiming it is better.

We are also concerned about how out of area bed usage is being reduced and whether it is clinically-led and safe. We are already hearing about further deaths.

It was also reported that the number of people waiting for assessments over 28 days has increased by more than a third (33.52pc).

In less than a year, the figure rose from 1,098 in October 2018 to 1,466 by the end of August 2019.

Disgraceful.

Campaigners are urging top chiefs at the region’s mental health trust to take action, claiming “more people will die” if further improvements are not enforced straight away.

A spokesman for the group said: “Since the last CQC inspection, transportation of people in distress rose dramatically to record levels.

“We don’t understand why this was allowed to happen. But we do know what caused it – managerial incompetence.”

An explanation of why the beds situation became so appalling is here.

Click on the image below to read the article in full including Stuart Richardson’s excuses on the EDP website:

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