Radical Redesign Heroes: Where are the TSSers now? Part 6: Norman Lamb, North Norfolk MP and Minister of State at the Department of Health responsible for mental health

Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrat MP for North Norfolk, was directly responsible for mental health as the Coalition’s Minister of State at the Department of Health from September 2012 until the general election in May 2015 when the number of Liberal Democrat MPs was reduced from 57 to eight. After the general election, Norman Lamb failed in his bid to become leader of the Liberal Democrats.

Norman Lamb has sought to make political capital from portraying himself as a ‘mental health champion’ yet during his time as the minister responsible for mental health, the number of unexpected deaths rose dramatically at his local mental health trust, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT). NSFT’s budget fell year after year after year as mental health funding fell nationwide. Before Norman Lamb obtained his ministerial salary and car, he had much less to say about mental health, even as the Liberal Democrat Health spokesperson. Norman Lamb was warned about the disastrous radical redesign but failed to stop it.

The ‘radical redesign’ was condemned by the King’s Fund in the Health Service Journal (HSJ) and is widely regarded as an unmitigated disaster which resulted in Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust becoming the first mental health trust in England to be placed into Special Measures by Monitor after being rated inadequate by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). NSFT’s Board ignored warnings about the impact of the massive radical redesign cuts from its own staff, service users and carers as well as the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the BMA and Unison. NSFT wasted millions of pounds paying its own staff to leave in the midst of a recruitment crisis.

As the government minister responsible for mental health, Norman Lamb repeatedly sought to undermine our grassroots campaign. Norman Lamb emailed a complaint to a national broadcaster from his personal gmail account making completely untrue and deeply inappropriate allegations about a campaigner’s personal relationships. When we highlighted the shortage of mental health beds, Norman Lamb went onto Radio Norfolk and accused us of not being ‘progressive’ like him. Norman Lamb’s office briefed a national newspaper journalist that we were ‘SWP’ and ‘a couple of trots from Sheringham’ even though we are the largest local mental health campaign in the country and six hundred people marched through Norwich. When we peacefully protested at his Crisis Concordat launch, he refused to speak to us. When we held Norman Lamb to democratic account over his record as the government minister responsible for mental health, he accused us of ‘trolling’ him and being ‘obsessed’.

Don’t listen to what Norman Lamb claims in opposition, judge him by what he did in government.

Norman Lamb is the consummate, duplicitous politician.

We wouldn’t trust Norman to run a Sheringham chip shop.


4 thoughts on “Radical Redesign Heroes: Where are the TSSers now? Part 6: Norman Lamb, North Norfolk MP and Minister of State at the Department of Health responsible for mental health”

  1. It is unconscionable that as Minister of State at the Department of Health and champian of mental health resorted to private mental health treatment for a member of his own family. Sadly, this is not an option for the majority of families whose loved ones have died in the care of NSFT. Duplicitous indeed.

  2. He basically just a career politician quite happy to criticize  the government  now but did nothing when he had the power to he worse than the others a least the other politicians  don’t pretend to give a crap

  3. The politicians are too often in awe of the Executive CEOs first names and most likely dinner parties. If they knew the suffering they cause they would not sleep at night. The previous CEO Aidan Thomas went on to devastate the Cambridge and Peterborough Foundation Trust, and the present CPFT CEO – Ms Dowling, is the same sort of medical illiterate taking NHS funds and not even allowing patients, with no other communal activities, an outdoor table tennis table. These people should have the decency to leave the NHS and let the well intentioned to take over.

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