Andrew Hirst of the EDP reports:
The Stepping Forward survey results presented in Ipswich at the Suffolk User Forum event was intended to show how far the NSFT had improved in the view of its service users after being placed in special measures earlier this year.
Although the trust has agreed measures to improve since its Care Quality Commission inspection, the survey results indicate much more is still to be done with responses highlighting delays in accessing care, failures to provide key documents and poor engagement with service users.
More than a third of respondents said it took the NSFT more than a month to contact them after being referred by their GP; half of those referred from an A&E department did not receive a courtesy call within four days and a further third of respondents were not aware of their care plan.
Campaigner Jane Basham, who attended the event, said the findings came as no surprise to those working with people trying to access mental health.
“Its findings are extremely damning and it’s time now for the trust to take action,” she added. “No more words, no more forums, no more consultations – let’s see some action.”
Some of the findings of the survey completed by mental health service users in Suffolk and Thetford include:
– More than a third of respondents did not receive contact from the NSFT in the first month after being referred by a GP;
– Half of respondents whose point of access was A&E did not receive a courtesy call from NSFT within four days;
– Almost eight out of 10 said they were not told about their rights under the Mental Health Act;
– More than a third did not know or thought they did not have a care plan;
– A third said their care plan was never reviewed
– More than two-thirds said they were not involved in the review of their care plan;
– Two-fifths of respondents said they would like their friends or family involved in the review process;
– And half were not told about possible side effects of their medication.
– Half did not think they had a Discharge Plan
While ‘consumer champion’ Healthwatch and Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) tried to pretend all was well, service users and carers told the meeting they were sick of consultations and events and demanded urgent action backed by decent funding for mental health services.
The anonymous free text responses from survey participants were not released: we will be exploring why service users and carers were denied their voice.
Quite astonishingly and disgracefully, nobody from the clinical commissioning groups could be bothered to turn up.
Click on the image below to read the full story on the EDP website: