Kept in the Dark: NSFT gags service users, carers, governors, staff and public

Gagged by Muppets

Board of Directors – Public Session
Held on Thursday 26th March 2015 at 9.30 am
in the Main Hall, Hellesdon Hospital
Chair’s welcome and notifications
Gary Page welcomed the Board of Directors, governors, staff and public. The Chair informed those present that questions from the public gallery would be taken at the end of the agenda as the Board of Directors have [sic] agreed that questions during the agenda interrupts [sic] the flow of the meeting.

Service users, carers, governors, staff and public wishing to ask questions or contribute to the decision making body of Norfolk & Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) will now have to wait for two or three hours until the agenda is exhausted, debate has concluded and after the decisions have already been made.

Why is NSFT seeking to emulate South Norfolk CCG’s Kafkaesque meetings? Apparently it is about flow.

We’ve never noticed any interruption to the flow of NSFT Board meetings from occasional questions. Our Campaign does not attend Board meetings often but in our experience one hand is more than sufficient to count the number of members of the public present.

At the last meeting we attended, campaigners raised issues such as problems recruiting staff in West Norfolk, the implementation of the prevention of suicide strategy, the financial sustainability of the trust and that the CQC report was generous because it did not visit adult community teams in central Norfolk. Perhaps that interrupted the flow?

The Lead Governor asked some questions and in her prologue highlighted the importance of holding the Board to account. Perhaps Guenever Pachent interrupted the flow?

Other governors congratulated campaigners on their well-informed and incisive questions. Perhaps those governors didn’t notice the interruption of the flow?

Were the governors consulted on this change?

Were service users, staff and carers consulted?

Is flow really more important than public participation?

Given the appalling mistakes made by the NSFT Board which have cost lives and millions of pounds, it should welcome ‘well-informed and incisive’ contributions. Perhaps the only contributions it welcomes are generic reports which cost the taxpayer £49,990+VAT and come from a company of which the former NSFT Chair who forced through the disastrous radical redesign, Maggie Wheeler, is an Associate?

The truth is that NSFT is seeking to suppress dissent as it has sought to take legal action against our campaign and to suppress documents the release of which are clearly in the public interest.

Over coffee at the last NSFT Board meeting attended by our campaign, the Chair told campaigners how welcome they were. At the next meeting the Chair announced this change.

Norfolk & Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust is the untrustworthy trust.

Gary Page is a merchant banker.

173 thoughts on “Kept in the Dark: NSFT gags service users, carers, governors, staff and public”

  1. If only the flow had been disrupted when the Board of Directors were approving the Radical Redesign; if only the flow had been interrupted when they were closing so many beds, if only their flow had been stopped when they closed the homeless persons team, the Assertive Outreach Teams, the Link Workers; if only they had stopped to think when they downgraded so many good staff and dispensed with the services of so many highly experienced clinicians. Anybody who has had the misfortune to attend these Board Meetings knows that the word “flow” is not how you would describe them. The bureaucracy and the jargon used is enough to confuse and put off any member of the public, and serves to hide really important decisions which are then rubber-stamped by compliant Board members. We need a strong, savvy, vociferous Campaign more than ever. We should all be at the next Board of Directors meeting on Thursday 28th May at 9am at the Kings Centre, King St Norwich NR1 1PH. We won’t be waiting until the end of the meeting to make our voices heard.

  2. I would expect a trust that prides itself on its transparency, to want to hear the public voice on issues before it votes on implementation.

    Having to wait until the end of a two hour meeting to ask questions is hardly an incentive for the public to attend Board meetings.

    The scant regard for public opinion has resulted in the sorry state the Trust is in. Are questions and suggestions made by the public ever minuted? Is there any point in attending these meetings? When is the Trust going to acknowledge public opinion and show respect for the people it serves?

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