Emily Townsend of the East Anglian Daily Times reports:
The mother of a 21-year-old fashion student who killed himself after being released from a mental health hospital is “astonished” that Suffolk’s mental health trust has been kept in ‘special measures’ for so long.
Henry Curtis-Williams, from Ipswich, was found dead in London in 2016 – just days after being admitted to Wedgwood House in Bury St Edmunds.
He had been taken to the unit by a police officer who had found him near a bridge in Ipswich.
Discharge at all costs is the mantra, even if the patient is seriously unwell, at risk or homeless.
Whistleblowers are telling us about patients discharged when obviously very unwell who then have to be readmitted on the same day.
Needless to say, often the people making these dangerous decisions with the intention of reducing the out of area bed statistics are ‘acting up’ and the poster boys and girls of the toxic NSFT ‘got away with it (again)’ Comms and management.
Front line staff tell us of intolerable and constant pressure not to admit or to discharge against the clinical interests of patients.
Let’s be clear: transportation to out of area beds is a scandal. But the solution is providing sufficient support and infrastructure, not abandoning people to manipulate the NSFT KPI dashboard.
Once upon a time, we would have given the details to the Care Quality Commission (CQC) but it has now decided to become complicit in the scandal and stitch-up at NSFT.
Now his mother Pippa Travis-Williams has said she is “incredibly angry” after it was revealed the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT) was remaining in special measures. Dubbed the country’s worst mental health trust, it has been under intense scrutiny over the past five years.
“I am astonished that this is being allowed to carry on,” said Ms Travis-Williams.
“This has been happening ever since the radical reorganisation in July 2013 when Suffolk merged with Norfolk and services were redesigned to the utmost detriment of patients and their families. To say I feel angry doesn’t even begin to express my feelings.
“It’s not just the negligence towards my own son, which the trust admitted to approximately three years after his death.
“They keep on using this quotation ‘lessons have been learned’. But obviously they haven’t.
“It’s utterly scandalous. Losing Henry from our family was so painful, we feel it every day and will always miss him beyond words. He was irreplaceable. And yet it continues. People are still dying.”
So many, many deaths.
Ms Travis-Williams and her family received a settlement for an undisclosed amount and an apology from NSFT over Henry’s treatment in October, three years after his death.
The trust sent the family a letter of admission, and said the standard of care “fell below what Henry was entitled to”.
They agreed he should not have been discharged from the mental health unit.
“But for the discharge, it is accepted that the deceased would not have taken his own life,” the letter of admission stated.
“Discharge, discharge, discharge” is the mantra. Even if people die as a direct consequence.
But his mother fears more people will die unless action is taken, and added: “How many lives have been lost?
“One of those souls was my only son, who took his own life in May 2016.
“How many families now have to suffer the eternal consequences of the loss of a loved one, which could have been so easily have been prevented?
She added: “These are people’s lives, not just unfortunate dots on a spreadsheet.
“Until this is completely addressed and pulled apart, absolutely nothing will change.”
The same failed management, with its toxic culture and appalling values, is still running Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust.
Until that changes, nothing will change.
NSFT cannot continue to ‘get away with it’: patients, carers and front line staff deserve so much better.
Click on the image below to read the story in full on the EADT website: