A Suffolk health watchdog has claimed that poor access to mental health services “has not significantly improved” since the region’s mental health trust was first placed in special measures.

Eastern Daily Press: Antek Lejk NSFT CEO with the trust's chair Gary Page Picture: ARCHANTAntek Lejk NSFT CEO with the trust's chair Gary Page Picture: ARCHANT (Image: Archant)

Healthwatch Suffolk outlined thoughts from leaders in a statement published ahead of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT)’s forthcoming Care Quality Commission (CQC) report.

The mental health trust, was placed in special measures in 2014, and again in 2017.

“We are aware that many people struggle to access mental health and emotional wellbeing support in Suffolk and the CQC has consistently found shortcomings in the services provided,” chief executive Andy Yacoub and mental health focus group co-chairs Jane Millar and Chris Hedges wrote.

“The negative impact of this poor access to good quality provision has been enduring and the situation has not significantly improved since the NSFT first entered into special measures.”

Eastern Daily Press: Trust CEO Antek Lejk addresses the AGM back in October Picture: ARCHANTTrust CEO Antek Lejk addresses the AGM back in October Picture: ARCHANT (Image: Archant)

The statement also references a “major review” carried out by Suffolk health commissioners, who are in the process of looking at the way mental health services are run across the county.

This review is said to be led by information sought by patients, service users, carers professionals and the public.

The statement finishes by referring to the upcoming CQC report, and adds: “We sincerely hope anything that needs to be learned will be urgently taken on board and that the trust will ensure measures are put in place in a timely manner to address the concerns of the CQC.”

At the NSFT AGM in October, NSFT’s chief executive Antek Lejk called mental health the “Cinderella of the NHS” and blamed lack of adequate funds for shortcomings in the trust.

He also made reference to the upcoming CQC report, which is due to be published in December.

Mr Lejk said: “We aren’t sitting here waiting for the CQC report.

“We are constantly looking at the trust and looking at things to improve.”

The NSFT have refused to comment on the recent statement from Healthwatch Suffolk.

A spokesman for the NSFT has said that the trust would be “happy” to comment once the CQC report is published.

Click here to see the full Healthwatch Suffolk.