Fixed, Flawed Farce: Part 4: BBC News: Trust among worst for treating mentailly ill patients out of county

Mariam Issimdar of the BBC reports:

Norfolk and Suffolk’s mental health trust is in the top five in the country for sending patients out of area for care.

Last year more than 350 adult mental health patients were sent out of the county for treatment by the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT).

The BMA’s survey was actually generous to Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT), as it only had Freedom of Information Act responses until the end of January, so had to estimate the numbers sent out of area in February and March based upon performance earlier in the year. However, we know that the number of patients sent out of area by NSFT spiralled completely out of control in February and March 2017.

Many trusts send no or very few patients out of area.

We also don’t know if the numbers sent to the BBC include the large numbers of NSFT patients in crisis sent to the private and remote Mundesley Hospital, which has now failed two consecutive CQC Inspections and remains in Special Measures.

We were promised an end to the use of Out of Area beds before the end of April 2014 by NSFT and Norfolk CCG commissioners in January 2014. Instead, more beds have been closed and the beds crisis has become much worse.

The most recent target was again moved and NSFT doesn’t seem to have a plan or a clue.

NSFT claims it has enough beds when it clearly does not.

NSFT has not had enough beds for years but continued to close beds.

NSFT promised it would not close beds until it was shown that they were no longer needed but ignores its own undertakings.

The fixed, flawed farce of a bed review claims that NSFT ‘could’ have enough beds.

Even after the facts demonstrate the opposite and inspectors from the CQC reported that lack of beds was having a negative impact upon patient care.

Michael ‘Payrise’ Scott and CCG bureaucrats can find the money for large pay rises for themselves but can’t find the money for decent mental health services.

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb is bleating on about lack of beds but says nothing about the thousands of beds that were closed while he was Minister of State at the Department of Health directly responsible for mental health. When he was the Minister, Norman Lamb argued on BBC radio that we weren’t ‘progressive’ when we said there should be enough beds for people in crisis.

We’ve been campaigning since November 2013, demanding an end to bed closures until it is shown that the beds are not needed. We have been ignored.

What a farce.

Click on the image below to read the article in full on BBC News:

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