UNISON: Stark warning over further £36 million cuts to mental health services

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UNISON issues stark warning over further £36 million cuts to mental health services

UNISON has reacted angrily to news today that the proposed financial recovery plan for Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust includes a further £36 million of cuts.  The Trust, which provides mental health services across Norfolk and Suffolk, has already made £44 million of cuts over the past four years with the impact resulting in the Trust being the first mental health trust in England to be placed in special measures.

Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission rated the trust “inadequate” following its extensive inspection of services in October 2014, resulting in Monitor, the Foundation Trust regulator, placing the Trust in special measures in February 2015.

These cuts, at a time of rising demand for services, have led to a system in crisis – with people in distress being sent hundreds of miles across the country to access a bed, hundreds of community patients left with no named worker and unmanageable caseloads for community teams.

Emma Corlett, UNISON NSFT branch spokesperson and mental health nurse, said

“The consequences of any further cuts, especially on this scale, are simply unthinkable.  Mental health is already woefully underfunded compared to physical health and we continue to live with the consequences of previous cuts on a daily basis.  How can a trust already in special measures possibly improve the quality and safety of services without the resources to do so?  We have had five years of so-called “efficiency savings”, there is simply nowhere else to go.  Put simply, this will cost lives.  Staff have had enough of trying to do the impossible”

Mental health accounts for around 23% of NHS need, yet receives on average only 11% of NHS funding.

Jeff Keighley, Regional Organiser for UNISON said:

“This is a complete and utter disgrace, no one can say that will not obliterate quality and put lives at risk”

“Clinical Commissioning Groups across the counties allocate varying amounts to mental health; the worst being West Norfolk CCG at just over 7% and the best being Norwich CCG at 14%.  Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation trust is under-commissioned and under-funded – in effect it has been starved to the point of failure. This is a failure of government policy, and lays bare the hollow words ‘parity of esteem’ spouted so often by government ministers”

As people are saying on Twitter:

What’s left to cut?

10 thoughts on “UNISON: Stark warning over further £36 million cuts to mental health services”

  1. I think it is time people woke up, that grinning quisling Jeremy Hunt smiles like a Cheshire cat whilst promising all sorts of wonders. Then the real news is that services are cut or simply removed completely.

    Mental health clients are the least likely to advocate for themselves and frequently require help to fight their corner. Do you think this fact is wasted on Hunt?

    All the talk from Trust executives is just that – management speak of no substance whatsoever. It is a waste of time to listen to their babble, just watch Hunt…

    Services will not improve with another huge chunk cut out of the funding, how could they? The radical redesign was the template for the future except they overplayed their hand and services collapsed just a tad too quickly and people noticed.

    The rot will continue but the PR will be ramped up so nobody notices.

  2. ‘Mental health clients are the least likely to advocate for themselves and frequently require help to fight their corner’, which the ‘radical redesign’ sought to take advantage of, limiting access to services to the most vulnerable of patients. It is being noticed, complained about and pursued to the Health Ombudsman. The Trust executives aren’t too concerned about cuts, their pay packets are ring fenced. Perhaps they will take notice if multiple complaints are taken to the ombudsman?

  3. My last round of care was completely disjointed, so much so as to be virtually non-existent. Triage after triage, telling my story over & over to complete strangers only to be given the inappropriate  medications  and being called by the wrong name didn’t help. I hope there’s not a Jennifer Goodwin outthere getting my treatment!  On a serious note, I don’t think so, the locum psychiatrist, stranger student renting consulting rooms, administered by secretaries who are strangers and clearly have no mental health experience… That’s why my name was gotten wrong.

    I am counting down until, after starving the service of money and running it down, the time the government says – look at this terrible service… We’ve got just the panacea for that…opens door, in walks private companies vying for position to save the day.

    Cheery picking the less challenging conditions and dumping the rest to a two-tier service.

  4. So all the BS from Clegg to Norman (I’m proud of what I’ve achieved for Mental Health Services), Lamb, was a load of cobblers as most sensible people knew all along……..but wait……..Perhaps he actually meant he’s proud of securing £36million worth of MORE CUTS. Maybe that WAS his contribution.???  It will not of course be called cuts. We should launch a name competition….what about Radical Redesign 2, (now the b****s really DO have something to complain about), OR ‘now we’ve cut staff and beds, let’s cut the clinicians salaries’……..What a complete farce, something to accompany Lorenzo…………..SO the rumoured ‘second round of RR’ actually turned out to be true.??!!!!! Folks you are witnessing the death of the NHS…RIP…..’we tried but they were just TOO incompetent for us’……

  5. I agree, it all looks pretty grim. The most atrocious injustice is that the coalface clinicians are running flat out just to stand still whilst the top level managers throw spanners into the works.

    Lorenzo is a developing story, it is the IT equivalent of gangrene, it infects an organisation and slowly spreads until the whole thing grinds to a shuddering halt.


  6. In the last two years I’ve not heard of ONE single clinician that has said ‘services are safe and effective’…regardless of the propaganda that continues to be spouted, and now £36 million is  to be saved, with the trust under special measures, and branded inadequate, we now face this.  IF the Trust were a commercial company it would have gone under ages ago…………and all I can see from this  is exactly what is intended for the Trust. When it fails the CCG’s will be asked to take over Mental Health, employing clinicians under new contracts, (obviously saving money, and providing a poorer service). Watch this space…back to the 1980’s with local Health Authorities, but with much greatly reduced manpower, and facilities…..Divide and Conquer.

  7. Agreed, if the current management objective was to drive the trust under then they’re doing a great job. To say that these cost savings can be made without decimating the current tightly stretched service is absurd. One wonders how they keep a straight face. Maybe Norman Lamb hosted a ‘Look sincere whilst stabbing people in the back’ workshop.


  8. I wonder what Norwich Mind will say this time; it’s about time that all the voluntary sector spoke out against these cuts. Voluntary sector workers are expected to fill the gaps left by the struggling statutory sector. Many voluntary sector organisations now describe themselves as corporate enterprises while they compete with each other for short term contracts, paying their staff low wages to carry greater and greater responsibility without proper medical back up. We can no longer bury our heads in the sand.

  9. Yes you’d like to think so, but as pointed out with the head of MIND locally being an ex-board member and married to an ex-board member, who is still employed by the Trust, I wonder if anything will be said. I suspect that ‘never bite the hand that prospectively could feed you’  will also be the order of the day for many charities locally. Short term contracts and a poorer service all round then…………..

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