EDP: Mental health trust says improvements have already been made after critical Hellesdon Hospital inspection

After the publication of a highly critical report from the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the Director of Nursing, Quality & Patient Safety of Norfolk & Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) is now claiming that NSFT has ‘taken urgent steps’ to put the problems right. The Director of Nursing claims that ‘We have already taken steps to recruit more mental health nurses, work extra weekend shifts and monitor more closely the waiting times and experience of our service users.’ Why then is NSFT spending £7.3 million on redundancies which will see overstretched community teams lose more than one quarter of their staff? Why is NSFT losing experienced permanent staff yet spending £1.5 million per month on temporary staff? Why is NSFT rumoured to be looking to launch recruitment drives in Portugal and Ireland at the same time as paying some existing staff more than £100,000 in redundancy payments to leave? Where are the beds and staff to deliver a decent and safe service?

The Director of Nursing repeats NSFT’s latest line to the EDP and claims “The CQC’s report, on the whole, paints a positive picture of services at Hellesdon Hospital but it does raise two important issues on which we have already taken action. This CQC report helps us make further, important improvements.” The disingenuous claim of ‘further improvements’ implies that the failed and chaotic ‘radical redesign’ has been a success. Below is what the CQC did write about the ‘positive picture’:

“People did not always experience assessment, care, treatment and support that met their needs and protected their welfare. This was because the simultaneous major re-organisation of both community and hospital based services had adversely affected direct patient care in both areas. Regulation 9(1)(a)(b)(i)(ii)”

Read the excerpts from the CQC report yourself and see whether you too identify two issues as NSFT claims or rather more. Then again, what should we expect from the Trust which launched a consultation into wards it had already closed?

As Emma Corlett of Unison and this campaign rightly says:

“The conclusions of this report are sadly entirely expected. They raise the exact same concerns that Unison members working on the front-line have themselves been raising for months. This is exactly why two weeks ago Unison raised a formal grievance with the chief executive and called for an immediate halt to the cuts and reorganisation of services so that a full assessment of the true impact of changes made so far can be made.”

“The report cites some excellent examples of a caring and compassionate group of staff, doing their best to maintain a good service in the midst of cuts and reorganisation that has left them without sufficient resources to do their job.”

For how much longer can the Chair and non-executive directors of NSFT bury their heads in the sand and give unconditional support to the executive directors responsible for this failed, hubristic ‘radical redesign’ and the consequent and worsening crisis in mental health care in Norfolk and Suffolk?

Click on the image below to read the full article in the EDP:

EDP Mental health trust says improvements have already been made after critical Hellesdon Hospital inspection

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