EDP: Mental health trust boss admits staff report should have been handled differently

Nicholas Carding of the EDP reports:

A governor of the mental health trust has said the publication of the Alexander report should have been handled more openly and honestly.

The report, written by Marie Alexander, acting clinical education lead for the trust, was written in 2014 following surveys of staff.

Sue Whitaker, who is also chairman of Norfolk County Council’s adult social care committee, said Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust should have expected the report to be leaked.

“It was obvious it was going to get out,” she said.

“Now it looks as though we were forced to put it in the public domain.”

Ms Whitaker said: “I think we should have been more open and honest about it from the start.”

She said the trust had previously had a reputation for working in secret and claimed the reluctance to release the report had merely added to the suspicion, rightly or wrongly, of the public.

NSFT has not been telling the truth about the Alexander Report:

  1. The Alexander Report was already anonymous. It did not contain the names of any of the front line staff who were interviewed;
  2. We applied to be sent a copy of the report under the Freedom of Information Act in December 2014. NSFT refused to reply within the time limits laid down by law and it was only when we went public and contacted NSFT’s solicitor that we received a response. That response was a refusal to make the document public, which we appealed and again we were again refused. This whole process took more than six months and many emails. At no time during this process were the staff involved asked if they objected to the publication of the report.
  3. NSFT claimed that it was not in the public interest to release the document. The truth is that is was not in its interest.
  4. The document discussed at the December 2014 NSFT Board Meeting, Lessons Learned (buried at p.122-125 in a huge pdf), does not even begin to properly acknowledge the mistakes and problems. It doesn’t even refer to the report and seems to ignore the patient safety and governance issues raised. Lessons Learned was allocated a mere 15 minutes of discussion.
  5. Our understanding is that Governors did not see the Alexander Report until it was published by the EDP.
  6. We don’t know if the Non-Executive Directors of the Board saw the Alexander Report. We suspect not.

The Lorenzo electronic record system disaster is beginning to emerge now too:

Dr Karen O’Sullivan, who represents staff on the board of governors, said many workers she had spoken to were experiencing problems with the trust’s new IT system Lorenzo, which is a national system being rolled out across trusts in England.

Dr O’Sullivan said: “99pc of staff wanted to feedback on Lorenzo.”

“Staff used to spend two to three hours a week on a computer but now it’s more like four hours per day.

Click on the image below to read the full story on the EDP website:

EDP Mental health trust boss admits staff report should have been handled differently

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