Extra funding pledged to hire more staff at mental health units in Norfolk

Matron Jenny Thurston in a 136 suite.

Matron Jenny Thurston in a 136 suite. - Credit: Archant

A mental health trust has received a funding boost to recruit 11 additional specialist staff.

The Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) in Norwich, North, South and West Norfolk have provided the £350,000 to help care for people with a mental health crisis in Norfolk.

The money will be used to help staff Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust's (NSFT) two Section 136 suites in Norfolk, which are based at Hellesdon Hospital in Norwich and the Fermoy Unit in King's Lynn.

The units are set aside for patients who are detained by police under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983, for their own safety and wellbeing. A recruitment drive has already begun to fill the specialist placements. Staff will work on acute wards when the suites are not in use.

Duncan Edwards,from South Norfolk CCG, said: 'Being detained by the police during a mental health crisis is a medical emergency and this new investment will allow the NHS in Norfolk to get help to these patients quickly, in a healthcare environment.'

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Jenny Thurston, modern matron at NSFT, added: 'We are delighted that our Section 136 suite has received this extra funding, as it will allow us to further enhance the service we provide in partnership with Norfolk Police. We are already recruiting registered nurses, who will receive specific guidance and training to staff the Section 136 suite, so that we can continue to provide the appropriate care at the right time and in the right place.'

The investment also means police officers should be able to hand over some patients and leave much more quickly, returning to their frontline duties much sooner.

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Chief Inspector Amanda Ellis said: 'Norfolk Constabulary are very pleased that the funding has been approved to ensure the 136 suites are staffed with appropriately trained nurses. It will have a positive impact on police resources however it is the quality of the care received by those individuals detained which is of utmost importance to us and this will be greatly improved with the changes.'

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