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Press Release: Campaign statement on the scandalous NHS Digital data exposing the mental health beds crisis at NSFT

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A spokesperson for the Campaign to Save Mental Health Services in Norfolk and Suffolk said:

“It is scandalous that, despite many promises to stop the transportation of people in mental health crisis many miles away from families, friends and professionals they know, the situation has become much worse.”

“The inhumanity of transporting people, of all ages, in mental health crisis across the country used to be restricted to Norfolk. It has now spread to Suffolk as well, where people from Suffolk and North Essex make up 23 per cent of inappropriate out of area placements.”

“Despite the pledge to end out of area placements by 2021, the amount of time that people have spent in private hospitals miles away from home has more than doubled in just twelve months. It is incredible that thirty people were sent more than 200 kilometres from home when they needed support most. We have heard of people discharged from remote hospitals without support or the means to get home. Families and carers receive no financial support to visit loved ones in distress, even when people have been transported against their will.”

“We have seen promises repeatedly broken since commissioners and NSFT promised in January 2014 that out of area placements would be stopped by the end of April 2014. Instead, the number of out of area placements has grown massively and, despite this, commissioners and NSFT have continued to close beds, even though they promised that beds would not be closed until it was shown they were no longer needed.”

“Of course, we would rather that people were treated at home or in their community. But, this simply isn’t happening and the time for wishful thinking is over. Whether the beds crisis is caused by inadequate bed provision or failing and under resourced community teams, what these terrible figures show is that mental health services are underfunded and underperforming. We know that people have to be really unwell to get an admission to a mental health bed and many of them would not have deteriorated if not for the savage cuts to mental health services. NSFT is in Special Measures and has been rated Inadequate by the Care Quality Commission three times. Yet still the situation is allowed to deteriorate. This is intolerable.”

“Wasting £1.27m on inappropriate placements in just three months in largely private hospitals is a staggering misuse of public money. Why isn’t the money spent on reopening local NHS facilities closed in error? What is particularly shameful is that Antek Lejk, who as head of the STP in Norfolk ignored the beds crisis and CQC inspection reports and failed to fund mental health services properly, is now the Chief Executive of NSFT who abandoned patients and colleagues to go holiday while the mental health trust failed its third CQC inspection despite trousering £175,000 per year from NHS coffers.”

2014:

2016:

2018/19:

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