Just as the last of the public consultation meetings took place in Beccles, it emerged that Norfolk & Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) is closing its Dementia Intensive Support Team (DIST) at the James Paget University Hospital. The DIST is a key component of the sham consultation proposals on which Great Yarmouth & Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group has forced NSFT to consult.
We’ve previously highlighted that the ‘consultation’ is worthy of Kim Jong Un in North Korea, with beds closed and staff moved or made redundant in the year before the consultation even started. What does the sham consultation say about DIST?
“10.2 Proposal Two: Dementia and complex care in old age services
This proposal is to permanently close the 12 dementia assessment beds at Larkspur Ward in Carlton
Court and to continue to develop a dementia intensive support team (DIST) who would work with
patients within the community.
10.2.1 Beds at Carlton Court
NSFT has 12 dementia assessment beds at Larkspur Ward in Carlton Court, although currently there
are no patients in these beds, whilst NSFT is piloting the DIST. Since the start of the pilot the demand
for these beds has reduced and only those patients with very complex needs would require an
inpatient assessment. Up to four specialist beds in Blicking Ward at the Julian Hospital on Bowthorpe
Road in Norwich will be available for these patients when needed.
NSFT has 12 older people’s beds for people with conditions such as bipolar disorder, depression and
schizophrenia at Laurel Ward, Carlton Court. Currently there are no patients in these beds. The
savings here are being used to support the new dementia intensive support team (DIST).”
No beds at Carlton Court and no DIST at the James Paget. What is left to sham consult upon? Without DIST and beds, what happens to the elderly in Great Yarmouth and Waveney?
The Operations Director of NSFT was very visibly shocked when a brave member of staff blew the whistle on the unannounced closure of the James Paget DIST team at the last public consultation meeting on Tuesday of this week, 25th March 2014. News was obviously not supposed to leak out before the public meetings were over. With typically-incompetent NSFT people management and workforce planning, James Paget DIST staff were told in February that the service had funding for the following year; in March they were told there was funding until the end of May; last week the James Paget DIST team was told the team would close this week.
The James Paget DIST team met and exceeded all its targets, supporting elderly people to get back to their own homes as soon possible and freeing beds at the James Paget hospital, but this is how the hard-working staff are rewarded. Of course, there was funding for two years but DIST took nearly a year to emerge from the Hellesdon Hospital bureaucracy.
Either the Operations Director knew the James Paget DIST was closing and chose to mislead the CCG and the public during the consultation process or the Operations Director is incompetent for not knowing what was happening in the services being consulted upon. No wonder the colour drained from the face of the Operations Director when confronted with the truth by a member of this campaign.