EDP: Revealed: How mental health patients are being sent to failing private hospital

Geraldine Scott of the Eastern Daily Press reports:

Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT) sent 21 patients to Kneesworth House, in Royston, over the last year and on Tuesday it was revealed how Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors found dirty wards and “uncaring and disrespectful” staff at Hertfordshire unit, as well as Priory Hospital Blandford in Dorset.

Yet again, NSFT is transporting patients to private hospitals which inspectors say are inadequate, just as it repeatedly did at Mundesley Hospital.

There are currently two patients at Kneesworth House and last week chief executive Professor Jonathan Warren said there were around 50 patients outside of the trust overall.

NSFT has to send patients out of the area, sometimes hundreds of miles away, when an inpatient bed is needed but the trust does not have enough of its own.

Commissioners and NSFT bosses promised in January 2014 that the human misery of transportation across the country would end by May 2014.

Instead, all we’ve seen are huge increases in out of area admissions and executive salaries. It will no doubt be depressing to see the salaries the latest bunch of execs are trousering from NHS coffers when NSFT’s Annual Report and Accounts are published.

A spokesman for the Campaign to Save Mental Health Services in Norfolk and Suffolk said: “We’ve simply had enough of this. In January 2014, commissioners and NSFT promised Norfolk County councillors and the public that Norfolk would have enough NHS beds in Norfolk by the end of April 2014. That’s over five years ago.

“But, since then, despite warm smiles and more targets, the beds crisis has become worse and worse and tens of millions of pounds has been wasted on transporting people in crisis across the country to often poor quality private hospital chains.

“Where is the next Kneesworth House or Mundesley Hospital? This has to stop. We need enough NHS beds in Norfolk.”

Aren’t we just stating the obvious?

Ms Hull added: “The government has set the target of eliminating inappropriate out of area placements in mental health services for adults in acute inpatient care by 2020/21. We are confident that we can achieve this by working closely with our partner organisations.

Diane Hull, Director of Nursing at NSFT, isn’t very subtle about trying to deflect the blame for almost inevitable failure onto other ‘partner organisations’, is she? NSFT sacked the staff and closed the beds.

The NHS England target is just a false dream for the families of Norfolk and Suffolk. Ms Hull is simply being cruel.

The beds and crisis team situation is worse, much worse, than it was during the last failed CQC inspection. Whistleblowers are going say more about this soon.

Since the Chief Operating Officer, Stuart Richardson, started at NSFT one year ago tomorrow, having been recruited by the illustrious Antek Lejk, the number of out of area bed days has spiralled out of control and crisis team morale and retention has collapsed. Richardson’s tenure has been a failure and people in need of support are paying the price.

NSFT claims to be clinically-led but that isn’t what front line clinicians tell us, unless clinicians are bureaurats who haven’t done regular face-to-face clinical work for decades.

The Board of NSFT made the same claims during the disastrous ‘radical redesign’.

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

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

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