Nicholas Carding of the Eastern Daily Press reports:
Campaigners say they are “deeply troubled” after it emerged the number of mental health patients waiting longer than national standards for treatment has risen by nearly 200pc.
Under the NHS constitution patients should be treated within 18 weeks of referral but new figures reveal 280 patients waited longer at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust between April 2015 and March 2016.
Michael Scott, chief executive of the trust, said there had been an increase of thousands of referrals and that the rise in funding “has not been on par”, while mental health campaigners warned patients could die while waiting for treatment.
In 2012/13 there were 99 patients waiting longer than 18 weeks, and in 2013/14 and 2014/15 that number sank to 72 and 78 respectively.
But in 2015/16 the number of patients shot up to 280 – an increase of 182pc since 2012/13.
The figures do not include patients waiting to access treatment from the trust’s child and adolescent mental health services.
That’s right. These figures don’t even include children and young people waiting for treatment.
A spokesman for campaign group Save Mental Health Services in Norfolk and Suffolk said: “The increase in the number of patients waiting more than 18 weeks for treatment is deeply troubling. Waiting is not merely inconvenient, it is dangerous. People die while awaiting treatment. With increased waiting times it is hardly surprising that the number of unexpected deaths has increased so dramatically at NSFT.”
These numbers are only the tip of the iceberg: family doctors have referred thousands of people who receive no treatment at all from NSFT. For instance, NSFT has the worst performance in the country for the proportion of children referred who receive treatment. The proportion fell from 42% to 20% in only three years.
While the proportion of children receiving mental health treatment more than halved, the Chief Executive of NSFT, Michael Scott, saw his pay increase by a quarter. Local CCG bureaucrats also helped themselves to big pay rises from NHS funds while local services have been slashed.
If NHS ‘transformation’ and ‘innovation’ continues upon its present path, the NHS will end up with: thousands more overpaid bureaucrats; endless triage, assessment and signposting services; an army of well-meaning but amateur volunteers; precious little professional evidence-based treatment; and more preventable deaths. Shameful.
Click on the image below to read the article in full on the EDP website: