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Fixed, Flawed Farce: Part 3: EDP: A staggering waste: More than £1.6m spent sending region’s mental health patients to private hospital in just seven months

Geraldine Scott of the Eastern Daily Press reports:

More than £1.6m has been spent by the region’s mental health trust on sending patients to a private hospital since it was put into special measures by inspectors last year.

Mental health campaigners alleged Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT) continue to use the private Mundesley Hospital, in North Norfolk, because they are “too lazy” to re-open NHS beds.

NSFT closed nearly twice as many beds as other trusts.

Why would the Board of NSFT want to re-open beds and save the taxpayer money when it would be hard work and interrupt their biscuit dunking and coffee drinking?

How much better simply to use a blank cheque from the taxpayer?

Where are the genuine voices of patients and carers?

Mundesley Hospital was first put into special measures by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) following an inspection in September last year where a number of serious problems were discovered.

At the time the CQC’s deputy chief inspector of hospitals Dr Paul Lelliott said: “All of the care plans examined lacked detail, staff did not always ensure that patients were aware of their rights and not all staff had completed mandatory training required to do their jobs correctly and effectively.”

A number of “serious incidents” were also found to have taken place at the hospital, which had not been revealed to the CQC.

The hospital was again inspected in January, when although improvements had been made, inspectors still said the service provided was not up to scratch.

Despite this, the number of nights NSFT patients spent at Mundesley rose. And financial data revealed £1,616,850 had been spent sending patients to the unit since September alone.

Astonishing information as a result of diligent investigative reporting.

A spokesperson for the Campaign to Save Mental Health Services in Norfolk and Suffolk said: “That NSFT could waste such staggering sums of taxpayer’s money sending patients to a remote private hospital rated inadequate by the CQC shows how reliant it has become on private providers. These sums are sufficient to re-open local NHS beds which would improve care and save the taxpayer money.”

Based on figures given by former NSFT operations director Kathy Chapman, during the consultation on the closure of Carlton Court hospital in Lowestoft in 2014, the £1.6m could have paid for 5,839 NHS bed days.

The cash spent at Mundesley since September paid for 3,394 bed days, according to NSFT board papers.

The campaign spokesman added: “We’ve often wondered why NSFT doesn’t reopen NHS beds. Reluctantly, the only explanation we can find is that to do so would be hard work and they are too lazy to do so: it is so much easier to just book private ambulances and write a blank cheque signed by the taxpayer to private hospital providers nationwide, inadequate or not.”

The Chief Executive of Mundesley Hospital, Ms Thick, tells the EDP:

We value our relationship with [NSFT] highly.

We bet they do.

We’re not going to repeat the excuses made to the EDP by the Chief Executive of NSFT, Michael ‘Payrise’ Scott, because they are self-serving, fatuous and ridiculous.

This week there were at least 29 patients ‘out of trust’ due to lack of beds.

In May 2017, there were another 19 unexpected deaths of NSFT patients.

As NSFT cut its beds by 25 per cent, Michael ‘Payrise’ Scott helped himself to a 25 per cent increase in pay, taking his salary to £175,000 per year.

The only person who thinks Michael ‘Payrise’ Scott is doing a good job is his bank manager.

The so-called bed review is a fixed, flawed farce.

The EDP has produced an astonishing Inforgraphic:

Click on the image below to visit the EDP website to read this important article in full.

It is a must read.

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