Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) is busy denying its own plans for ‘Putting People First’ now that they have become public.
Here is what the Board of NSFT wrote in its own Annual Operational Plan 2016-17 in April 2016 to its regulator, Monitor:
Over any year we anticipate our staff numbers to change, especially as our clinical strategy is embedded and we reflect different working practices and models, such as the move towards prevention and integration with the wider health and social care sectors.
For 2016/17 our overall workforce establishment is planned to remain largely stable over the next year with a relatively modest reduction of approximately 135 whole time equivalents (-3%) across all staff groups. This will largely be met through the removal of non-essential vacancies as they arise, mitigated within clinical services through the more efficient use of our staff to ensure safe staffing levels, supported by electronic rostering.
135 posts is 3.5 per cent of the workforce: about one in every 29.
The idea of further job losses at NSFT is astonishing, especially when they include front line clinical staff. With the number of tragic unexpected deaths rising so rapidly, it is immoral for NSFT to even consider cutting a further three per cent of its workforce. When NSFT is employing hundreds of temporary workers, why would it cut full time staff? Staff already have caseloads above recommendations and many in need of help are on waiting lists or refused treatment.
We heard about unspecific ‘more efficient use of our staff’ justifying the hundreds of job losses during previous disastrous cuts and the ‘radical redesign’. What actually happened was that mental health services and morale collapsed and the trust was rated inadequate by the CQC. If NSFT doesn’t have enough money to pay the staff it needs to deliver a safe service, the elusive commissioners need to step in and provide sufficient funding for a decent mental health service for the people of Norfolk and Suffolk.
You can read the Annual Operational Plan 2016-17 (the denied cuts in staff are on page 15) by clicking on the image below (warning: it is a 606K PDF file):