This is an example of how the Norfolk & Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) Board, NSFT governors, Norfolk and Suffolk clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and local MP and responsible minister, Norman Lamb, were warned of the largely predictable consequences of the ‘radical redesign’. Those who questioned whether the Operations Director’s ‘improvements’ would work safely were accused of ‘shroud waving’ or ostracised. This article appeared in the Eastern Daily Press in February 2013: fifteen months ago. You can read the full story on the EDP website by clicking on the image below.
Despite “bland assurances” Dr Jones said in a letter to NSFT medical director Hadrian Ball: “The proposed reductions to medical and other clinical staff will have a major impact on the quality of clinical care provided.”
He added: “The clear implication of much of the proposals is that current levels of quality and activity will be maintained or even increased. We consider that this is totally inconceivable that the current level of service could be maintained in the face of such reductions.
“We consider that it is totally unsustainable, and that it is at best disingenuous and at worst downright dishonest of the trust to promote these proposals without clearly stating the effect that such a reduction in capacity will inevitably have on patients.
“We believe that it is inevitable within these proposals that both the quantity and quality of service delivery will decline, and that this will result in significant risks to patient safety.”
Dr Jones raises concerns that the cuts will put staff under “extreme pressure to accept increased workloads and increased pressure of work, with the inevitable reduction in service quality and patient safety that this will entail.”
The letter goes on to criticise the 90-day consultation, stating staff have not been given adequate time to respond.
Dr Jones added: “We do not consider that this is true or meaningful consultation, and we do not consider that this is allowing staff a reasonable opportunity to engage with a process which is likely to have devastating consequences, not only for patient care but also for the individual careers of members of staff.”
And Dr Jansen raised concerns about the quality of service in more rural areas.
“In rural areas, staff are likely to be so overstretched that doing home visits will no longer be feasible,” Dr Jansen said.
“Psychiatrists will no longer have the time to travel to outlying clinics. This will seriously affect the access to care for our most isolated and vulnerable patients and result in less contact between mental health professionals and GPs.”