Nicholas Carding of the Eastern Daily Press reports:
The tragic saga of patients dying unexpectedly at the region’s mental health trust continues after it emerged the number of deaths could reach new heights this year.
Plumb new depths, more like.
Latest statistics from Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) show 140 patients suffered “unexpected deaths” from April to December last year – the equivalent of three quarters of the 2016/17 financial year.
During the whole of the 2015/16 financial year 158 patients died unexpectedly.
The news comes on the day the BBC devotes an episode of its flagship investigations programme ‘Panorama’ to mental healthcare in the NHS.
The NSFT is expected to feature in the programme.
Mental health campaigners have voiced concern about the sharp rise in unexpected deaths at the trust in the last two years.
In 2012/13 53 patients died, but within three years that number rose to 158 – and this year the number is likely to be even higher.
A spokesman for Save Mental Health Services in Norfolk and Suffolk said: “The NSFT Board and commissioners have consistently disregarded legitimate public concern and refused to share information or investigate the causes of the increases properly.
“Instead lame excuses have been thrown around like confetti without proper analysis and facts are withheld from the public.
“The shoulder-shrugging and excuses have gone on for too long.
“Too many people have died.
“NSFT and commissioners must make the urgent reduction of the number of unexpected deaths their number-one priority.”
Panorama will be broadcast on BBC 1 tonight at 8.30pm.
Don’t forget to watch Panorama tonight.
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