Financial crisis: EDP ‘It can not go on’ – CEO’s warning on mental health funding

Michael Scott, who took over as boss of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) earlier this year, said his organisation was already around £1m in deficit for the current financial year and the way mental health services were funded could not carry on.

It is great news that Norfolk & Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) has decided to stop talking about ‘improvements’ and ‘enhancements’ whilst implementing massive cuts. We’ve been predicting an inevitable financial crisis for months: it was obvious from the financial report presented by the NSFT Finance Director Andrew Hopkins at the Board of Directors meeting in Swaffham that NSFT’s spending on out of area beds and temporary staff was unsustainable. No wonder Michael Scott, Chief Executive of NSFT says: “It can not go on.”

NSFT’s hubristic ‘radical redesign’ involved making skilled and experienced staff redundant, cutting entire evidence-based services such as Early Intervention and Assertive Outreach, closing beds, slashing community teams and spending £4 million per year on Access and Assessment Teams which deliver neither diagnose nor treatment – only delays. CAMHS and dementia services have also been viciously cut. The radical redesign destroyed staff morale.  The ‘radical redesign’ has been shown to be a total and utter failure because the only way to keep services safe and fulfil statutory obligations post radical redesign has been to spend so much money on private beds and temporary staff that it has bankrupted the trust.

It is obvious that the NSFT Board is culpable but so too are the Department of Health, NHS England, Monitor, the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and the local MPs that have failed to act to stop this on-going crisis. It isn’t as though they weren’t warned repeatedly. Some of the most vulnerable people in society cannot be allowed to pay the price of the arrogance and mistakes of the bureaucrats and politicians. NSFT must be bailed out. Mental health services in Norfolk and Suffolk are already in crisis: it is simply impossible to cut them further.

NSFT, Norman Lamb, NHS England and the CCGs need to stop blaming each other. Local MP Norman Lamb is the Minister of State at the Department of Health directly responsible for mental health.  Norman Lamb talks about parity of esteem but has instead overseen real-terms cuts to mental health funding. Norman Lamb claims to be powerless when his government designed the new system of NHS England and the CCGs. Lamb needs to act decisively to ensure that his own local mental health trust does not collapse and that mental health services are fit for purpose in both his own constituency and throughout Norfolk and Suffolk. Words and empty promises, taskforces and concordats are no longer enough. Money needs to do the talking now, Mr. Lamb.

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

EDP It can not go on - CEOs warning on mental health funding

8 thoughts on “Financial crisis: EDP ‘It can not go on’ – CEO’s warning on mental health funding”

  1. No Michael it can’t. And good on you for saying so. Increased funding is an absolute must. But do not think for one moment that staff and the public will forget easily how NSFT Senior Management has performed over the last 3 years….a string of capital mistakes  made by a small group of people who have disastrously misjudged their own ability and competence and by doing so, have compounded the funding crisis rather then managed it. To deliver any increased funding into the hands of this Leadership Team would be  irresponsible.

  2. Couldn’t agree more. Before one more penny comes into the trust the  poor decision making of people in charge , and the denial after denial that there was a problem has to be held to account. Its fantastic that the management have now decided to listen to patients, relatives, and its staff…..but how many headlines in the EDP, appearances on Look East, warnings from everyone, over years,  did it take to get to this.? Its time for new board members to take this process forward.

  3. Mr Scott was of course not in charge at the start of this mess, but none the less a qualified hurrah for this statement. There is of course the small matter of the £2.5 million overspend on redundancies, without which we would presumably be £1.5 million in surplus. When the hell are those responsible going to be held to account?

    I understand that Mr Blizzard will be asking the Board to open the books so we can see where all the money has gone. It will be interesting to see where the money is being spent, as opposed to where the Trust have been telling the commissioners it’s being put into.

    And while I’m here: got to love the Chairman’s email to all the staff concerning the Campaign, and our right to hold whatever views we want to hold on it. Well, Fucking whoopededoo! Cheers, Big Guy! More importantly, I want to know about this so-called bullying that’s been going on. OF course bullying is wrong, and we should have nothing to do with it. Except that I don’t remember any bullying going on here, unless we mean the naming and shaming of highly-paid executives who got us into this mess, and lied to us, the public, the commissioners, and just about everyone else throughout this whole sorry process. If this is the case, then I suggest they take their big salaries and treat themselves to a nice thicker-skin for Christmas. I notice they weren’t so concerned for the emotional well-being of their staff during the Radical Redesign.

  4. So the Campaign is now allowing comments to be censored by the trust?

    The phrase is “thin end of the wedge” and the Mafia allegory not too far off the mark, then!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top