Nicholas Carding of the Eastern Daily Press reports:
A sharp rise in the number of mental health patients dying unexpectedly coincided with the responsible organisation cutting nearly a quarter of its inpatient beds.
Special investigations programme BBC Panorama, broadcast this evening, said the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) cut 136 psychiatric beds from 2012 onwards – even though demand continued to rise.
A graph from NSFT shows the number of unexpected deaths per 100,000 patients rose from around 90 to around 140 between 2013-2016.
In 2013 NSFT embarked on a “radical redesign”, cutting services while saving million of pounds.
NSFT governor Sheila Preston, whose son Leo died unexpectedly while in the care of the trust, told Panorama: “Before the changes (the radical redesign), Leo was seen at least once a week.
“After the changes I asked his nurse and she hadn’t seen him for four weeks.”
‘A devastating expose of the failure of mental health services’ – Campaigners
Those involved in Monday night’s Panorama show, which focused on failings at the region’s mental health trust, said they spoke out to show how bad services had become.
Sheila Preston was featured on the BBC One show after her son Leo, who was being treated by the NSFT, died from a suspected accidental overdose late last year.
“I felt that I had to inform people of what I consider is happening concerning the care of mentally ill people,” she said after the programme was broadcast.
Emma Corlett, a former nurse at the NSFT, who also featured on the show, said services should not have been allowed to have got into such a state when MPs and mental health professionals had known for years the problems faced by the NSFT.
A spokesman for the Campaign to Save Mental Health Services in Norfolk and Suffolk said the BBC show was a “devastating exposé of the failure of mental health services”.
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