EDP: Mental-health patients left in cells and secure unit, people deprived of their liberty, NSFT finances are appalling

This is absolutely shocking:

A Norwich man with mental-health problems was kept in a police cell for more than 24 hours and then sent to a private hospital 175 miles away for two weeks because there were not any beds for him in East Anglia.

This is appalling:

A 25-year-old man is being kept in a medium security mental health unit near Diss, almost four months after being told he was free… his father told the EDP he could not be released because a clinician had not been found for his son.

“They have not done what they were told by the tribunal,” he said. “He is a free man who is being locked up.”

And NSFT’s financial position is far worse than expected:

The EDP can today reveal the true scale of cash problems at the region’s mental-health provider, which is set to run up a deficit of more than £5m by the end of this financial year.

A leaked document shows the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust’s (NSFT) deficit was £2.3m in October and another £4m of savings, needed by the end of March, are yet to be identified.

How can people avoid taking responsibility for failures of this magnitude? Mental health services are a disgrace and those to blame should be sacked.

How have the NSFT Board and Governors, the Magnificent Seven CCGs, Monitor, NHS England, the CQC, Healthwatch and Health Minister Norman Lamb allowed the crisis to turn into a meltdown? There appears to be no public accountability at all.

We’ve been campaigning for over a year but the problems have become worse rather than better. There are hundreds of quangocrats but they’ve been worse than useless. Where is the sense of urgency? How can Norman Lamb claim to be a champion of mental health when since 2010 NSFT’s budget has been cut by £30 million relative to physical health?

Last night at our committee meeting we were joined by more people who have lost loved ones after being let down by mental health services. They are joining our campaign because they are determined that other families should not suffer. If only the politicians and NHS bureaucracy felt the same way.

Read the full stories by buying the EDP or clicking on the image below to visit the EDP website:

EDP Mental-health patients left in cells and secure unit

3 thoughts on “EDP: Mental-health patients left in cells and secure unit, people deprived of their liberty, NSFT finances are appalling”

  1. The harsh truth is that mental illness unlike physical ailments is far from a systematic diagnose>treat procedure. Mental health services have always been the poor relation of physical health from their inception in the Victorian asylum system to the public outcry after the ‘Silent Minority’ documentary in the 1980s.

    What managers do not understand is that you can’t just load people up with medication and throw them out of the door, their social circumstances are critical and it is these social stressors that are most difficult to get any kind of help with as the peripheral services like psychology, wellbeing and CRHT are all resource stripped and run on a shoestring.

    The trust is in meltdown because there are a series of profoundly incorrect fundamental assumptions about how people with mental health problems fit into society. The inability of national level management to grasp this means that there will always be vast disparity between needs and services. NSFT has failed to understand this, leading to them becoming compliant with a culture of cuts and service withdrawal.

    The job of the trust is to advocate for its clients, it should not be left to pressure groups such as this to point of the deficiencies in the system, the existence of this group is symptomatic of the problem, not a solution in itself. Unfortunately it is left to third sector providers to fill in the ever widening gaps between need and provision and given their scarce resources it is no wonder that services have reached this crisis point.


  2. While all the various quangos and bureaucrats do nothing, we need to remember that Carlton Court is still closing and Ashcroft is under threat. That’s more than twenty beds closing when last month there were 50 NSFT people out of area.

    The Health & Social Care Act seems to have led to a complete breakdown in proper planning. Great Yarmouth and Waveney CCG has decided it doesn’t need as many beds for its residents but the direct consequence is that more patients from other parts of Norfolk and Suffolk will end up being sent across the country at enormous expense.

    Beds that are desperately needed are closing or threatened with closure because of budget disputes between unaccountable and expensive bureaucracies (NSFT, NCC, CCGs, NHS England), whatever the consequences for patients. Meanwhile the oversight quangos (CQC, Healthwatch, Scrutiny, Monitor, NHS England) and the politicians have just ignored repeated warnings and let the radical redesign destroy mental health services.

    Now NSFT has been given £100,00 to waste investigating becoming a completely autonomous mutual when all the evidence is that the Board couldn’t run a bath. The system introduced by the Health and Social Care Act is unfit for purpose. How can NSFT be awarded £100,000 to look into becoming independent of the NHS one month and investigated by Monitor the next? What a disgraceful waste of public funds.

    Norman Lamb should resign in disgrace.

  3. All very valid points. It is futile to continually re-brand and reconfigure services as an alternative to actually funding them adequately – in my opinion these measures are pure chicanery to make it appear that positive action is being taken whilst in actuality finding new ways to prune services further and redirect the criticism elsewhere.

    To anyone who is prepared to spend some time on research and interrogating the documentation it becomes increasingly clear that the health and social care act is a blueprint for the deconstruction of the NHS. The situation in NSFT is a perfect excuse to claim that the NHS in its current form is unworkable and instead we must find some alternative – and we know precisely where that argument leads..


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