UNISON issues stark warning over further £36 million cuts to mental health services
UNISON has reacted angrily to news today that the proposed financial recovery plan for Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust includes a further £36 million of cuts. The Trust, which provides mental health services across Norfolk and Suffolk, has already made £44 million of cuts over the past four years with the impact resulting in the Trust being the first mental health trust in England to be placed in special measures.
Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission rated the trust “inadequate” following its extensive inspection of services in October 2014, resulting in Monitor, the Foundation Trust regulator, placing the Trust in special measures in February 2015.
These cuts, at a time of rising demand for services, have led to a system in crisis – with people in distress being sent hundreds of miles across the country to access a bed, hundreds of community patients left with no named worker and unmanageable caseloads for community teams.
Emma Corlett, UNISON NSFT branch spokesperson and mental health nurse, said
“The consequences of any further cuts, especially on this scale, are simply unthinkable. Mental health is already woefully underfunded compared to physical health and we continue to live with the consequences of previous cuts on a daily basis. How can a trust already in special measures possibly improve the quality and safety of services without the resources to do so? We have had five years of so-called “efficiency savings”, there is simply nowhere else to go. Put simply, this will cost lives. Staff have had enough of trying to do the impossible”
Mental health accounts for around 23% of NHS need, yet receives on average only 11% of NHS funding.
Jeff Keighley, Regional Organiser for UNISON said:
“This is a complete and utter disgrace, no one can say that will not obliterate quality and put lives at risk”
“Clinical Commissioning Groups across the counties allocate varying amounts to mental health; the worst being West Norfolk CCG at just over 7% and the best being Norwich CCG at 14%. Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation trust is under-commissioned and under-funded – in effect it has been starved to the point of failure. This is a failure of government policy, and lays bare the hollow words ‘parity of esteem’ spouted so often by government ministers”
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