Carlton Court: NSFT’s much-vaunted alternative-to-admission arrangements break down

Muppets and bed

A campaign member on the coast tells us:

“The alternative-to-admission arrangements for Laurel and Larkspur wards at Carlton Court have broken down. The residential home at Hopton has apparently lost three managers. Norfolk & Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) has withdrawn the arrangement to have six beds with only two patients left awaiting removal . A patient who would otherwise have gone to Hopton had to be placed in the London area last week. The Great Yarmouth & Waveney CCG (HealthEast) are aware of what is going on and will take it into account in their consultation.”

Norfolk & Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) tries to do things on the cheap and beyond public scrutiny. This is the result as vulnerable people are moved many miles from their families, carers and clinicians at enormous expense. Of course, these patients can’t move into Carlton Court, even though the consultation is still under way, as the staff have been made redundant and Orwell Housing has moved in. There is no longer a Dementia Intensive Support Team (DIST) at the James Paget University Hospital either. Given that the central Norfolk CCGs and NSFT have provided assurances that their patients won’t go out of area after the end of April, does this mean that coastal patients will be at a disadvantage for Norfolk and Suffolk beds and shipped like cargo to the other ends of the country? In 2013-14, NSFT overspent on out-of-area beds by about £2.4 million. How hollow do the plans outlined, and assurances provided, by the Operations Director at the HealthEast consultations sound now? Not that any audience member believed them, except the poor former governor who believed that Laurel & Larkspur were still staffed and open.

8 thoughts on “Carlton Court: NSFT’s much-vaunted alternative-to-admission arrangements break down”

  1. This Barchester home used as an alternative to admissions was failing from the start.   Costing the taxpayer £800 per week for each occupied bed,  and around £15,000 for the four months of bed occupancy. Now the home has serious investigations underway, managers ‘suddenly gone’, and with no DIST team at the James Paget Hospital the remaining Trust  staff have been left to pick up the pieces. What a way to run a health service.

  2. Of course managers are disappearing. It’s their way of protecting themselves and one another: nobody’s there long enough to take the flak. Plausible deniability. It wasn’t me, Guv: I was only there a fortnight/.


  3. I feel I have to comment on the above article. As someone who has recently taken up a post the home in question, I concede that previous management arrangements had difficulties. However there is a new management structure in place who are currently working with remaining staff to rectify previous problems and ensure the safe and effective running of the home. We should also not forget the continuing hard work and dedication of remaining staff, who under difficult circumstances are providing a high standard of care and support to those in their care.


  4. I Think the problems are down to a lack of checks and communication and a lack of agreed protocols between both services. Again NSFT wanting a service on the cheap without any forward planning, the very reason I left the trust. I cannot believe that the current trust board are still in post. They have transformed one of the best performing and highly regarded mental health services in the country and through ill advised decisions and total mismanagement of resources, have ended up with an under staffed and demoralised service, which is unable to meet the needs of the public. The dedicated staff of the trust have been lied to, emotionally blackmailed and scapegoated as inefficient. The trust then has the audacity to recruit agency staff to fill the voids they have created at extortionate cost. They then bury their heads in the sand and trot out the same excuses and phrases such as we are working together to provide a better service. They should hang their heads in shame and resign en masse. The trust have consistently misled everyone about closure of beds, citing the increased resource in the community, whilst cutting community based teams by approx a quarter. I sympathise with my former colleagues, as I have been on the receiving end of the trusts total lack of value towards its staff. They have designed and implemented a new structure on the basis of short interviews which do not take into account the wealth of experience and skill of staff, but rather the ability to shine and say the right things in a twenty minute interview. The views of service users, experienced staff and the general public have been totally ignored.

  5. Thanks Kevin, you and the staff are doing a grand job under a challenging set of circumstances, not ideal to purchase beds in the private sector and try and put in service users that have a mental health illness that are deemed severe enough to warrant not remaining in their own homes, BUT one may question the type of service user that could be placed there, as the home is not equppied to provide extra observations on those who might want to harm themselves. but this has been the case! without any extra staff or monies being provided, the Ritson IS NOT A HOSPITAL and patients with mental health problems should In my opnion not be placed there if the alternative would of been an acute inpatient placement.

    Even this week the Suffolk team have 11 patients placed up at Blicklking anf Sherringham wards at the Julian Hospital in Norwich – the staff have been asked to review these patients to ascertain if they can be supported for early discharge and support at home. Surley if they needed an acute inpatient bed thats where they should remain and not be pushed out back to community teams that determined they should be admitted ! No one wants our patients to remain in an acute hospital a minute longer than required, if we could support our vulnerable service users in their own home THEN WE WOULD DO SO.

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