Norfolk & Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) managed to add just NINE out of its pledged 269 additional staff. That is only 3.3 per cent of its target and an average net increase of three per month.
This isn’t a laughing matter. Staff are desperately needed because: community team caseloads are unmanageable and unsafe; wards are too reliant on temporary staffing; sickness rates are high due to stressful and often dangerous working conditions; and the cost of agency workers is bankrupting NSFT. The use of temporary workers is also undermining the continuity of care which is vital for both productivity and quality. The consequences are all too real.
Matters will become worse still with the disintegration of social and mental health care, the exact opposite of Norman Lamb’s claimed objective, on 1st October 2014, when many social workers will leave their community mental health teams at NSFT and return to working exclusively for Norfolk County Council as a result of NSFT’s loss of the Section 75 contract. Some community mental health teams, already reliant on agency workers for more than ten per cent of their care co-ordinators, will lose more than one-third of their care co-ordinators as social workers depart.
What will happen to caseloads, already unsafe? How many unallocated cases, each one a human being, will there be after 1st October? NSFT doesn’t seem to have a plan. It makes the Cashless Concordat and ‘parity of esteem‘ sound like meaningless soundbites, doesn’t it, Norman?
Yet, despite all this, the HR team leadership at NSFT that has destroyed staff morale, wasted millions on unnecessary redundancies which have placed services at risk and has now failed to take leavers into account when planning recruitment, is still in place. Quite simply, this is astonishing. Perhaps the people responsible should be promoted?