EDP: Union backs Mental Health Watch campaign – and highlights ongoing concerns in Norfolk and Suffolk

David Powles of the EDP reports:

Bosses of the trust used their recent AGM to proclaim of turning a corner, but Ms Corlett says while some things have improved – there’s a long way to go before staff feel that is the case.

She explained: “A lot of staff still feel angry about how change was managed, though some are more optimistically minded than others.

“Staff still feel their caseloads are too high, meaning they have to prioritise who to see. Referrals are coming in more quickly than they ever were, which means the service has a substantial waiting list.

“And people working in the crisis teams are still struggling to find people a bed, so that while the out of area figures have fallen, we are seeing a lot of Norfolk patients being put in beds in Suffolk.”

“We need to find equality right at the top where we have a gap between what they say they want to do and what they actually do.”

Liz Spivey talks about how NSFT changed:

Mrs Spivey, from Thorpe St Andrew, said: “Having qualified in 1977 I saw the way things changed. The main issue was simply having to battle through so much bureaucracy, in terms of get people’s treatment funded and all of the form filling you had to do, which I just couldn’t cope with.

“It’s such a hard job to do, because if things go wrong, as they often do, the consequences can be so serious. I also feel there’s too much of a blame culture when things go wrong and the support isn’t always there.

Many of the most experienced and highly qualified medical secretaries are now working as PAs to NSFT’s directors and managers. Front line clinical staff have lost administrative support and the new electronic medical record system, Lorenzo, the NSFT Board’s panacea, has been broken for most of yesterday and today. When Lorenzo does work, even senior NSFT managers admit it has reduced clinical productivity by at least 25 per cent.

Back on Fantasy Island, the Chief Executive of NSFT, Michael Scott, is, as ever, obsessed with managerialism, managers and more managers.

Scott tells the EDP:

On senior manager engagement: “This year, we established the Senior Management Forum, where directors meet with around 100 managers from right across the trust. In turn, they are expected to take back what they learn or hear and share within their own teams. We have also set up a regular programme of directors’ visits for both Executive and Non-Executive Directors.”

The main preoccupation of the Senior Management Forum is finding new, deeper cuts (the NHS euphemism is ‘Cost Improvement Programme’ or CIP). The quotation below is from the papers for the NSFT Board meeting of 20th July 2015:

A workshop was held at the Senior Management Forum on 7 July, to generate further savings ideas for Cost Improvement projects during 2015/16 and into 2016/17. These ideas (potentially totalling £1 million) and the current CIP Pipeline are being reviewed between the PMO and the Interim CIP Director, to recommend additional CIP projects to the TPB.

Yet despite the 100 managers sitting in their workshop, NSFT has been unable to implement this year’s ‘CIP’ relating to corporate management cost savings.

NSFT managers are very good at losing clinical posts and closing services in spite of evidence and warnings that to do so is dangerous. When it comes to their own bloated management structure they await ‘benchmarking data’ and it becomes a question for another future meeting along with ‘Chocolate Bourbon biscuits or Custard Creams?’

This is from the papers for the most recent NSFT Board meeting:

Corporate Savings Management Savings rated red

It was easy to break more promises and close the Waveney Acute Services beds at Carlton Court though, wasn’t it?

Just like Mid Staffs, NSFT’s managers are obsessed with cost-cutting and targets, even as the death rate soars.

Click on the image below to read Emma Corlett’s interview with David Powles on the EDP website:

EDP Union backs Mental Health Watch campaign - and highlights ongoing concerns in Norfolk and Suffolk

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