Help: Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspecting NSFT in July 2016

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CQC, the independent regulator of health, mental health and adult social care in England will be inspecting Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust the week beginning the 11th July.  They would like to hear feedback about mental health services before the inspection.

There are a number of ways people can feedback their views (CQC are are interested in experiences from the last 12 months only).

  • telephone 03000 616161

The Care Quality Commission will be inspecting Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) again in July 2016.

Campaigners will be preparing submissions to the CQC and meeting members of the inspection team, as we did last time the CQC visited. If you want to submit details of your own experiences, would like advice and support or would like join us when we meet the CQC, please get in touch.

Why does this matter? Isn’t it just pointless and vindictive to highlight the problems at NSFT? Aren’t we all bored of it?

The answer is emphatically “No!”

Firstly, let us not forget that the number of unexpected deaths of people under the care of NSFT have risen substantially since the last CQC inspection and continues to climb. Ours is a moral campaign seeking to prevent any further deaths of people who should have been able to rely on mental health services. In the first three months of 2016 alone, there were another 45 deaths: that’s a funeral every other day. In 2012-13, there were on average 22 unexpected deaths per quarter. The number of deaths of those under the care of NSFT has doubled since 2012-13. This is shameful.

It isn’t just deaths either. We have continued to bring examples of failure of care to the CQC since the inspection; particularly where people have suffered life-changing injuries which will not be investigated by the Coroners. Some are so horrific they are unreportable by the media.

We believe that the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), NHS England and NSFT are preparing further cuts to mental health funding, beds and staffing once they believe it is politically safe to slash funding again –  which means as soon as NSFT is safely out of special measures. The Chair of one of the Norfolk CCGs gave the game away at a Christmas party, when he told a campaign member that mental health could forget about any more money – ‘because we’ve got more important things to spend it on’ – as he described the then impending financial crisis at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (NNUH).

NSFT is yet again trying to give a false impression to the CQC. This was clearly shown when NSFT chose to selectively distribute the CQC request for feedback, which the CQC asked to be sent to all local groups. Of course, NSFT didn’t pass the CQC’s request onto us. Nothing demonstrates NSFT’s dreadful attitude to stakeholder engagement better than its appointment of the Head of Recovery, Participation and Partnership. Yet again, NSFT is wasting NHS funds on lawyers visiting our website. Yet again, the expensive lawyers cannot silence us because we write the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

It is worth noting that the last CQC inspection failed to visit the Central Norfolk community teams, where the impact of the massive ‘radical redesign’ cuts was most acutely felt. We suspect that if the CQC had visited that part of NSFT, the CQC would have sacked the entire NSFT Board immediately. While some services have improved somewhat, the staffing of the Central Norfolk community teams remains deeply inadequate.

Similarly, in Suffolk, we are increasingly hearing of real concerns about the performance of the Integrated Delivery Teams (IDTs) and lack of services available to children and young people.

The CQC said NSFT needed to have enough local beds for local people: it doesn’t. Although NSFT reopened some beds on Thurne Ward at Hellesdon Hospital, it also closed Waveney Acute Services at Carlton Court and tried to close the Fermoy Unit in King’s Lynn before our campaign exposed the plans. NSFT regularly has twenty patients at the expensive, remote and private Mundesley Hospital, where it seems that none of the medical staff have passed the exams of the Royal College of Psychiatrists or hold Certificates of Completion of Training (CCT)  from the General Medical Council (GMC). We don’t consider that psychiatric treatment.

The NHS Staff Survey results continue to be appalling as front line staff bear the brunt of increasing demand and decreasing funding and many service users and carers receive inadequate support, whatever NSFT’s expensive spin doctors claim.

Let’s work together to stop the deaths.

Do get in touch with us or the CQC.

Thank you as always for your support.

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