Adam Gretton, Health correspondent
Thursday, April 3, 2014
Mental health campaigners are taking a well earned rest today after completing a 52 mile walk to raise awareness of ongoing cuts to services.
Twelve campaigners took part in the walk from the office of Ipswich MP Ben Gummer to the office of Norwich MP Simon Wright where they delivered letters raising their concern about the changes at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust.
The group from the Campaign to Save Mental Health Services in Norfolk and Suffolk started their walk from Ipswich on April 1 and finished in Norwich last night.
Campaign member Emma Corlett of Unison, who is also a Norfolk County Councillor and member champion for mental health, said they had received “unanimous support” from people during the two day walk. She added that they wanted to raise the profile of mental health cuts in Norfolk and Suffolk.
“We met people who talked about their own mental health and there was no one that did not have something to say about mental health.
“If someone who had a stroke had to be taken to the nearest hospital bed in Darlington, Somerset, Bradford, Manchester, Harrogate or Glasgow, MPs would be falling over themselves to call for urgent action. This is the reality for people in Suffolk and Norfolk experiencing a psychiatric emergency. The cuts and imposed reorganisation of services have left people facing unacceptable delays for assessment and even lengthier delays awaiting allocation to a team for treatment. There are simply too many people to see and not enough staff to see them.”
Clive Lewis, Labour prospective parliamentary candidate for Norwich South, who walked the whole of the route, added: “This was a fantastic team effort that had campaigners from Norfolk and Suffolk and across the political divide pulling together to achieve something special.”
“What I also found touching was the support from so many members of the public along the way. So many had a story to tell us relating to mental health. Some spoke of how the service had helped them or members of their family. Others how it had deteriorated as of late. But all spoke of their admiration for its staff.”