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EDP: Patients rate Norfolk and Suffolk mental health trust as one of worst in country

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Tom Bristow of the Eastern Daily Press reports:

The region’s mental health service has been named as one of the worst performing in the country in a survey of patients.

Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust, which was brought out of “special measures” in October, was rated particularly badly for supporting people with mental health difficulties during a crisis.

The crisis team has been reorganised as the trust dealt with cuts.

Regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC) which carried out the community mental healthcare survey will now be writing to the worst performing trusts demanding action.

They said the NSFT was one of four out of 58 trusts providing community mental health care in the country which performed much worse than everyone else.

In five measures out of 10 in the survey the NSFT scored worse than the average, and performed the same in the other five measures.

A spokesman for the Campaign to Save Mental Health Services in Norfolk and Suffolk said the results showed the NSFT should not have been brought out of “special measures” by the NHS Improvement in October.

He said: “The CQC inspection found that NSFT has a high number of deaths and does not have enough staff, doctors and beds.

“We are not surprised. The NSFT cut the number of doctors and nurses in its crisis and community teams. NSFT closed its specialist teams. NSFT doesn’t have enough beds.

“NSFT closed its Norwich base for community teams and moved many staff to an office block in Wymondham.

“NSFT’s commissioners have cut funding again and again and again. The number of unexpected deaths has doubled. Enough is enough.”

Dr Pangloss has been advising NSFT Chief Executive Michael Scott again:

“Our staff have worked extremely hard to improve our services, in particular our community based services over the past two years and these results do not echo the improvements we have put in place.”

Yet again, Michael Scott denies the findings of NSFT’s own regulators and the opinions of patients.

However hard staff work, if there aren’t enough of them, or beds, the mental health crisis will continue.

Where’s comment from the self-proclaimed ‘local consumer champion for health and social care’, Healthwatch Norfolk, which wastes £600,000 of Norfolk Council Tax payers’ money each year? Its eight employees are based in plush offices in Hethersett. As usual, Healthwatch Norfolk doesn’t say a word. Healthwatch Norfolk’s Chief Executive, Alex Stewart, is probably too busy given his deep involvement in planning huge cuts as part of the so-called Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP): imagine a secret ‘radical redesign’ of the entire NHS. How can the ‘consumer champion for health and social care’ participate in a cuts process which excludes democratically-elected councillors, MPs, patients, clinicians and the public and refuses to publish its secret plans for cuts?

Click on the image below to read the article on the EDP website.  Even better, support the investigative journalism which is so important to our campaign and buy the newspaper. Good journalism, like decent health services, doesn’t come cheap:

[UPDATE: It is depressing that the comment below the EDP article defending NSFT’s performance and critical of the EDP appears to have been posted during working hours by a bureaucrat employed as a ‘Governance Practioner’ by NSFT who previously worked for Serco Health and Virgin Care and lists his expertise on LinkedIn as Outsourcing/Offshoring. Typical.] 

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