Proposals to shed 500 front-line jobs and 20pc of inpatient beds could have a “devastating impact” on mental health services across Norfolk and Suffolk, it has been warned.

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A union has also blasted the government for forcing Norfolk and Suffolk’s mental health trust to make the cuts over the next four years, which are part of a drive to save £20bn across the entire NHS.

Bob Blizzard, Labour’s prospective Parliamentary candidate for the Waveney constituency, said inpatient beds were already oversubscribed and community mental health teams had been reduced in his area.

He said: “If staff cuts on this scale go ahead, it must surely have a devastating impact on local mental health services.

“From my contact with staff, it’s clear they are already under severe pressure and morale is low.

“Demand for mental health care seems to be increasing not decreasing.”

Jeff Keighley, Unison’s Norfolk health regional organiser, echoed the view that demand for mental health services was increasing.

He said: “We are not in dispute with the trust about this, they are having to do it because they have got no choice and they are trying to do it in the right way.”

The Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust says the proposed changes are part of radical redesign being led by clinicians in response to a tough NHS efficiency drive, which means it has to cut 5pc out of its budget every year for the next few years.

While the trust says it is hopeful that it will not have to make any compulsory redundancies, and that inpatient beds will only be axed when there is evidence they are no longer needed, concerns have been raised over the impact the changes could have on staff and patients.

The trust employs around 4,500 staff, but the redesign only involves a pool of around 2,130 workers.

It has been keeping vacancies open and as of the end of August this year had the equivalent of 254 full-time vacancies, which means that it has to cut another 247 jobs by the end of March 2016.

The trust has now entered into a 90-day consultation with staff and says it expects the proposals to change during that time due to the feedback it receives.

It is also pledging that when inpatient beds are cut, which is due to be towards the end of the four-year process, no area will be left without any at all.

16 comments

  • NSFT Comms Team: 1. It is a ridiculous and disgraceful proposition that the bureaucracy will remain the same size during four years of cuts which will see the number of doctors and nurses cut by 33% and the budget for services cut by at least 20%. The proportion of the Trust's budget spent on administration, pointless-endless-meetings and paper-pushing, already far too high, will climb substantially higher still. The cuts of 35% in band six nurses, 33% in consultants and more than 50% in career grade doctors shows the true priorities of the Trust bureaucracy and where the 20% budget cuts are falling quite disproportionately. 2. Yes, sure, the merger lost some of the dead wood in the bureaucracy but there is a forest to chop. The real point of the Trust, services to those with mental illness, had the Cost Improvement Programme cuts, much of which was ill-thought out and poorly managed, at the same time as the merger, so it isn't as though the bureaucracy was hacked while services weren't. Bureaucracy is supposed to exist to support front-line services, not to serve itself. You seem to have forgotten this. 3. If the Trust changes were really clinician-led, as is claimed to the public, the clinicians should be leading the Trust, and asking questions such as whether a Comms person on the EDP website is needed more than services to some of the most vulnerable people in society. Many of the paper-pushers at Hellesdon have enjoyed substantial pay rises and promotions while front-line services and jobs have been cut and salaries have been frozen. What has actually happened is that the bureaucrats have said to carefully-selected stooge clinicians "Here are the cuts, we're not being cut, you harm yourselves, your colleagues and the services provided to the public." 4. It is interesting that people in Communications can comment on this newspaper website, when clinicians cannot, because of the new and onerous Behaviour Policy for staff, which makes it a disciplinary offence for clinicians to even to discuss the Trust in a conversation in a pub. A disgraceful situation for a publicly-funded organisation to be in.

    Report this comment

    Adrian

    Tuesday, October 23, 2012

  • Not in Suffolk anyway. On the management front in Suffolk they will gain 8.3 WTE 8a posts ( but only lose 6.21 WTE 8b posts, 2.46 WTE 8c posts and .74 WTE 8d posts)......all to manage less staff!!

    Report this comment

    Solly

    Monday, October 22, 2012

  • Now who was it who said " The NHS is safe in my hands " ? Anybody remember?

    Report this comment

    norman hall

    Monday, October 22, 2012

  • Adrian - you sound angry and I would advise you to have this discussion with your manager or a member of the executive team, as some of your views that you present as fact are either inaccurate or misleading.

    Report this comment

    NSFT comms team

    Friday, October 26, 2012

  • Why is the number of people suffering from emotionalmental issues increasing? Simple it is this Government putting people under so much pressure to live day to day life, working or otherwise. I am sick and tired of the Government targeting the vulnerable in society.

    Report this comment

    chebram71

    Monday, October 22, 2012

  • Folks, any organisation that can afford to pay GP's vastly more money for doing far less work is not short of money. Its what it does with the money thats the problem.

    Report this comment

    smithrob

    Monday, October 22, 2012

  • There isn't a 20% cut in management posts however.

    Report this comment

    Solly

    Monday, October 22, 2012

  • Will Norman Lamb's foot soldiers now stop pretending they're not making cuts to the NHS?

    Report this comment

    Jeffrey Osborne

    Monday, October 22, 2012

  • Dont kid us Mr Blizzard Your government was poor at helping those with mental health problems Remember your privateisations andscandals

    Report this comment

    No to tory boy

    Tuesday, October 23, 2012

  • chebram71, " I am sick and tired of the Government targeting the vulnerable in society."...tis how government has always worked...ever since 'you'll never had it so good.' moment.

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Monday, October 22, 2012

  • Solly - we reduced our management costs through the merger between the former Norfolk and Suffolk mental health trusts at the start of the year

    Report this comment

    NSFT comms team

    Tuesday, October 23, 2012

  • Now this is just getting ridiculous. My community mental health team is already well overstretched following the last round of cuts. Where are people like me supposed to turn to for helpsupport? Even the charities have had their funding slashed.

    Report this comment

    Skyline

    Tuesday, October 23, 2012

  • Did Jeremy Hunt's visit here prompt these cuts or were they waiting till he'd been to announce it?

    Report this comment

    Jeffrey Osborne

    Monday, October 22, 2012

  • How can you cut 20 % of inpatient beds , when the population of the area is increasing .? No money left , we have to rebuild Afghanistan in front of our own peoples needs .

    Report this comment

    dragonfly

    Monday, October 22, 2012

  • I am sure the service can cope with a few less senior managers.

    Report this comment

    Solly

    Tuesday, October 23, 2012

  • Vote Tory, get this. If you haven't worked out by now that "plebs" don't count, then you may need some mental health care; but you won't get that dossing on the streets as these people intend.

    Report this comment

    T Doff

    Monday, October 22, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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