Mental health trust for Norfolk and Suffolk could face financial penalties over poor performance
06:30 22 January 2014
Archant Norfolk 2014
The mental health trust for Norfolk and Suffolk could face financial penalties if it does not address performance issues, commissioners warned yesterday.
Officials from North Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said they had major concerns about the speed of response to urgent referrals following a shake-up of services by Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT).
Commissioners pledged to work with the mental health trust to improve the performance of its Access and Assessment team after being lobbied by campaigners over concerns about the redesign of services at the NHS trust. Members of the CCG governing body added that patients being sent outside of Norfolk and Suffolk for an inpatient bed was “unacceptable”.
Members of the Campaign to Save Mental Health Services in Norfolk and Suffolk lobbied the CCG meeting in Aylsham and accused the commissioners of not doing enough.
Terry Skyrme, mental health worker and campaigner, asked the commissioners whether they were aware 13 pre-discharge beds at Hellesdon Hospital were about to close.
“Have you been aware of the bed crisis for the last two years? The crisis is much, much worse with patients being sent to Harrogate, Brighton, Dorking and Weston-super-mare. It is lucky if you are a patient in North Norfolk to end up in Bury St Edmunds,” he said.
The meeting heard that a contract query notice was issued against NSFT in November, which had been raised to a first exception report, calling for the mental health trust to put a timetable in place to deliver improvements within the Access and Assessment team. Concerns have been raised that the NHS trust is not meeting its emergency four hour and urgent 72 hour referral targets.
Mark Taylor, chief officer of the North Norfolk CCG, added that there were “levers” available to commissioners to force the organisation to improve.
“We can force them to provide information to us and we can take action including withdrawing money. We will intervene when things are not being delivered when we need them to be,” he said.
The number of patients being sent outside of the two counties represents five to seven percent of total admissions.
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