BBC News: Norfolk and Suffolk health: Warning over ward plan

A mental health trust does not have funds to reopen a ward intended to ease a beds crisis, a report has warned.

The Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT) announced in September plans to reopen 10 beds at Hellesdon Hospital.

A report to the trust in October said it should not reopen the ward because it would add £1.9m to the annual bill.

A report to the trust’s board of directors says the plan to reopen the ward would add an annual £1.9m bill – against a yearly saving of £1.4m after an initial saving of £2.4m on the current system.

The report, by non-executive director of the trust Adrian Stott, highlighted the lack of funds and raises concerns over reopening the beds at “a time of financial distress”.

Mr Stott recommended “reducing the number of inpatients who are not ill enough to be inpatients”. The report included warnings 30 people would regularly be treated outside the counties unless action was taken.

Asked about the report’s recommendations, Michael Scott, chief executive of the trust, said: “We recognise the need to have those beds open and we are going to open them and we are discussing with our funders how they can best support us in doing this.”

A spokesman for a Clinical Commissioning Group covering Norfolk said it provided £71.86m in funding for the trust, “inclusive of community and inpatient beds”.

He said the trust’s request for extra funds came too late.

Emma Corlett, NSFT UNISON branch spokeswoman, said she welcomed the plan for reopening the beds in September but was “alarmed to learn… that currently this proposal is not deemed financially viable.

She said the “lack of beds is such a significant risk to the health and safety” that it is vital that the plans for 10 bed ward are fully funded.

We are going to have a lot more about this astonishing turn of events – we’re getting new information all the time.

Read Nic Rigby’s full article on the BBC News website by clicking on the image below. To say that people are angry about this on our Facebook page is an understatement.

BBC News Norfolk and Suffolk health Warning over ward plan

226 thoughts on “BBC News: Norfolk and Suffolk health: Warning over ward plan”

  1. The cost to the local health economy of legal action by friends and family of anyone, who through this funding shortfall, comes to grave harm, could equal the supposed saving of not opening these beds. The distress of trying to support someone in crisis at home (because no beds available) has a severe impact on the health of carers as well as service users. Been there, taken the anti-depressants. Experienced the pain of supporting kids through the trauma of mum not well. This is, as has been said before many times, a national scandal. Why the bloody hell aren’t our local/national political representatives (with some notable exceptions, Emma Corlett for instance) raising a huge and loud stink about it? Come on Simon Wright! Come on Chloe Smith! Come on Norman Lamb etc etc. Where the f**k are ya?!?!

  2. This is utterly wrong on so many levels.

    1) The cost benefit analysis seems to be suggesting that it is cheaper to farm people out into private beds whilst simultaneously raising the bar to admission hence reducing overall demand for the service. This would be fine if we were actually producing solid outcomes for people on discharge, but with crisis teams spread dangerously thin we know this isn’t happening. Discharges are grinding to a halt because there are NO DAMN OTHER SERVICES – acute admissions becomes the placement of last resort for a plethora of patients that should have received services from other agencies but can’t access them because criteria get tightened up almost weekly…

    2) The fact that people seem to be accepting throwing people around the country into private beds as ‘the norm’ is a sick joke – every patient sent out of area needs to be sat down and facilitated to make a complaint at the very highest level and to the very end of the process to show the management that THIS IS WRONG.

    3) We seem no to have accepted as a trust that this failed model is the best we can do since the money to do something better is just not there, if this is the case then it is time to take the campaign to Whitehall as clearly trust top level management are utterly incapable of advocating for their client group. The trust at board level are now simply in charge of managing expectations downwards, THIS IS WRONG.


  3. Unbelievable. I’m sick of hearing about bed -blocking patients; a psychiatric crisis is not just about degree of illness. A mental health crisis always has a social impact and the reason patients need to be admitted to hospital always has many dimensions. It is pointless to discharge patients without a proper care plan in place so that they quickly fall ill again. We need a truly holistic approach not a narrow medical criteria, and we certainly don’t need non-clinical managers deciding when patients need hospital or not. Thurne Ward was always a Ward; it’s now offices. Even restoring 10 beds ( while of course closing beds elsewhere in Norfolk and Suffolk ) will not be enough; the experience of the last 2 years proves that. The Clinical Commissioning Groups are always stating that their decisions are based on best practice models; well. poor community care is no substitute for good inpatient care. The CCGs have a STATUTORY DUTY, I repeat ” DUTY “, to ensure that beds are available for urgent admissions to hospital under Section 140 Mental Health Act 1983 They have to inform Norfolk County Council Social Services Dept where such beds are available. They have failed in this duty consistently over the last 2 years. When is Harold Bodmore, Director of Adult Care Social Services, going to do something about it; he is fully aware of the situation because his social workers and Approved Mental Health Professionals have been telling him about the bed crisis for 2 years. Someone needs to make a legal challenge on this before more patients die. The hidden story here is not just the disgrace of sending patients miles away from their homes, but the frequent DELAYS in admitting high risk patients, or indeed the way the bed shortage is forcing clinicians to opt for home treatment against their better judgement.

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