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Union refuses to rule out industrial action at mental health trust

PUBLISHED: 18:52 01 May 2014 | UPDATED: 18:58 01 May 2014

Members of the Campaign to Save Mental Health Services in Norfolk and Suffolk at the North Norfolk Clinical Commisioning Group meeting at Aylsham.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Members of the Campaign to Save Mental Health Services in Norfolk and Suffolk at the North Norfolk Clinical Commisioning Group meeting at Aylsham. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2014

Union members at a mental health trust have refused to rule out industrial action over concerns about beds shortages and high workloads.

Approved mental health practitioners (AMHPs) from Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) met today to discuss the impact of staff and bed cuts at the NHS trust. They voted unanimously to write to the trust’s board of directors with a set of suggested immediate actions and invited them to set a timetable for meaningful negotiations.

Unison members also voted unanimously to start the process of holding a ballot for industrial action over this issue, due to safety concerns and “intolerable” working conditions. They said there was a daily problem of undertaking mental health act assessments with no bed availability and the impact on service users of being transported hundreds of miles to the nearest bed.

Emma Corlett, Unison media spokesperson, said: “Staff spoke passionately about the daily reality of trying to do their job with insufficient resources, and the emotional impact of having to tell service users and their families that they are going to be admitted to a hospital hundreds of miles from home. This situation has persisted for far too long.”

“Industrial action is always an absolute last resort, but AMHPs did not want to rule it out in the event that the situation does not improve quickly.”

The trust has pledged to fill more than 400 vacancies and put a stop to out of area placements.

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