The recent appalling revelations in the Mortality Review at the Norfolk and
Suffolk Foundation Trust, our local mental health “provider”, have shocked this campaign to its core. To see the stark headlines of 8,000 unexpected deaths in a period of less than three and a half years was truly distressing. As a Campaign we have raised the rising number of deaths for the last 10 years and our fears have been dismissed by the trust. This week has revealed that the trust is unable to tell us accurately how many people who use their services have died.
The human cost and the impact on their families is immense. The fact that
their loved one’s death has not been treated with respect and, in many cases, not knowing how they have died, reopens and deepens the trauma for bereaved families. On page after page of the mortality review shocking
details of the chaos and lack of respect shown to those who have died have
been revealed. Many of our members have been unable to get to the end of
the report because of this. The figures quoted in the report and in the
subsequent additional figures published by the trust still don’t help us
understand the scale or depth of this crisis as they are unreliable.
This has been allowed to happen in sight of the commissioners, NHS England and the Care Quality Commission. It has happened on their watch despite campaigners raising the issue time and again.
Our campaign has been highlighting the gross inadequacies at NSFT for 10
years. We have been insulted, ignored and threatened. After four periods in
special measures, 8 CEOs and 3 Chairs we now find that things are even
worse than our worst nightmares. We would be much happier to have been
proven wrong, than to see this scale of suffering.
Yet again we hear the CEO offering even more limp apologies via the media
and it was apparent he couldn’t even recall the details of the review. The
behaviour of the trust on social media since the review was published has only served to compound the distress of bereaved families and demonstrates they continue to try and spin the figures to make themselves look better. Whilst this is the behaviour we know from the trust it flies in the face of the public statements by the CEO and Chair.
How many more times do we have to endure this farce before Ministers, NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care do something to end this misery? It’s time for the CEO, the Board and the Governors to go either by resignation or being removed. The majority of our MPs have been silent on the Mortality Review and this is not good enough. We need our MPs to put their constituents needs before Party loyalties and demand action by Health Minister Steven Barclay.
It is time for the CEO and Board to go and for a statutory independent public inquiry into mental health services in Norfolk and Suffolk to get to the bottom of the deaths and the failings of NSFT and the wider health system.
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