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16th Day of Lent: Going without care in the community

Thoma Loneliness

Ruth writes:

“As a carer it is a relief to be able to access the campaign’s website to access information about the impact of perceived cuts in funding. We carers need to prepare ourselves for a future where the care of loved ones living in the community with life-long mental health needs will receive a skeleton service, or no service at all unless in crisis. Even then, under the new Trust strategy, will there be a place of safety or hospital bed for them to go to?”

“Hundreds of incurable, vulnerable people – designated conveniently under the draconian Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust’s new strategy to be ‘in recovery’ – will be cast out into a community that neither understands or supports them. It appears that personal budgets will be used as a substitute for former Assertive Outreach Teams who not only monitored the patients’ health, but consulted, advised and supported carers. The implementation of personal budgets has been haphazard and the process ill conceived in relation to the acutely mentally ill. Currently, hundreds of patients who are to lose healthcare have not had their personal budgets implemented. The majority of mental health patients do not know whether they are eligible. For years, the Trust and Social Services have been passing the responsibility for the implementation of personal budgets back and forth between them. Due to mismanagement, the current handover of responsibility from the Trust to Social Services will not be complete until the end of this year. Presently, a process which could be completed in a day, is taking in many cases over a year. Time is being wasted when patients could be benefiting.”

“Why did the Trust not ensure that patients now living without support had their personal budgets in place before proceeding with dismantling Assertive Outreach Teams? How are the present overstretched reorganised community teams to find the time to support carers? Why are the majority of patients in need of mental health care being deprived of services in order to reinforce a strategy which neglects the essentials and is not fit for purpose? Who at the Trust has mismanaged these vital aspects of care in the community?”

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