Kept in the dark: NSFT’s Board fails to share its intention to leave the NHS with its own Board of Governors, service users, carers and staff

Kept in the Dark

Our initial consideration is converting the entire trust into a typical CIC. This would involve governance changes such as;

  • refining our existing membership model (possibly reducing numbers to include only genuinely active members),
  • a members board (replacing Governors) which will feed input into the main board,
  • elected representatives of both members and of staff on the main board, and
  • an annual ballot of all members to elect the chair and to approve use of any financial surpluses.

Our decision to make this application to Pathfinder was taken by full board vote after a special private board development session. This session included Kevin Bond, CEO of NAViGO, presenting to us and engaging in discussion.

Despite submitting its Pathfinder application at the end of summer 2014, the secret decision of the Board of Norfolk & Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) to seek to leave the NHS, encouraged by Norman Lamb, has never been fully shared with the Norfolk & Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust’s Board of Governors, staff, service users, carers or the general public in Norfolk and Suffolk. The Board of Governors has never been shown the application despite the fact that it would spell its own abolition.

Last summer, while the NSFT Board was privately obsessed by post-NHS ‘structures’, the public crisis in mental health services deepened, with the disintegration of health and social care and the explosion in people in crisis sent across the country at enormous personal and financial cost. And Dave was dying alone in squalor in his Ipswich flat.

In its application, NSFT claims:

Our culture at NSFT is particularly transparent, including with external stakeholders; for example with very open and good relationships between the Board and Governors, and with major issues discussed honestly in public board meetings. We believe this transparency and openness in our culture augurs well for our mutualisation.

In our Campaign’s opinion, nothing could be further from the truth.

3 thoughts on “Kept in the dark: NSFT’s Board fails to share its intention to leave the NHS with its own Board of Governors, service users, carers and staff”

  1. I love the line..’an annual ballot…….to approve use of any financial surplus’……In what time period in the light of increasing need, costs, and reduced revenue is that likely to happen….whilst maintaining the ‘same level’ of service.

    …And no doubt all the Governors ‘when replaced’ will get handsome payoffs….

  2. Mutualisation has been a really well-kept secret; I had no idea there were already 20 mutuals operating in the NHS. I’ve never heard it mentioned by Norman Lamb in all his pronouncements about mental health services, both national and local.  However, he did say in the public meeting in Saxmundham that he didn’t care who delilvered mental health services – the NHS, local authority, private firms or third sector, not bothered.

  3. The thing is, having read up about mutuals & CIC’s I still don’t get what the benefits to staff and service users will be….staff morale and engagement should have happened by now regardless of the type of organization.  Charismatic leaders inspire staff to recognize themselves as the organizations biggest assets (rather than being seen as the largest drain on resources).  All I can imagine is that they will be cutting more vital services in order to save money.  Caring for the vulnerable may well be loss-making but those people will be/have been contributing to the state & deserve the best care.

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