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Unexpected deaths at mental health trust set to reach record high in 2015/16

PUBLISHED: 08:00 28 January 2016 | UPDATED: 12:19 28 January 2016

The chief executive of the region’s mental health trust insists the service provided is safe despite new figures suggesting the number of unexpected deaths this financial year will reach a record high.

Michael Scott, of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, acknowledged the trust was a high reporter of unexpected deaths, but added the organisation demonstrated low levels of harm to patients.

His comments came as new figures show there were a total of 35 unexpected deaths at the trust in October, November, and December bringing this financial year’s number so far to 112.

In 2014/15 the number of deaths totalled 139.

The new figures come just a day after it emerged NSFT had the highest number of unexpected deaths in England.

Mr Scott said: “We take a rise in the number of unexpected deaths very seriously – even a single death is one too many.

“And I know there will be families and carers who find our talking about ‘data’ in relation to the deaths of loved ones as deeply distressing.

“There are very many other people who will find these types of reports worrying and they may even have been scared away from seeking the help that we offer and they need.

“For me that would be the biggest tragedy here, of facts and figures being taken out of context and adding up to something that it is not the full picture.”

The numbers for October, November, and December were revealed by NSFT chairman Gary Page after a request by campaign group Save Mental Health Services in Norfolk and Suffolk.

The data for unexpected deaths at the trusts has previously been published every three months, but Mr Page said it would now be available to the public every month.

The campaign group said it welcomed the trust’s decision.

NSFT’s board of directors meets today at Hellesdon Hospital from 9.30am.

The meeting is open to the public.

Do you have a mental health story?

Email nicholas.carding@archant.co.uk

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