Mental health provision at Norfolk A&E departments is put under the spotlight

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt.

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt. - Credit: IAN BURT

Hospital bosses will today share concerns that people who have attempted suicide or self-harm are facing delays getting mental health support at accident and emergency departments.

Councillors will be told that, at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn, there has been a 'disproportionate effect on the emergency department' because of the problems.

The issues around support to hospitals from Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, which provides mental health services, will be discussed by Norfolk Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Thursday morning.

Last year, the trust was put into special measures, while it also has a multi-million pound deficit.

Suzan Robinson-Southey, consultant nurse in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital's A&E department, says in her report which will go before the committee that mental health support to her hospital 'remained volatile'.

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She said a new service had been created to ensure a specialist mental health assessment within an hour on A&E and within 24 hours in acute wards in 2013.

But she wrote that had been 'systematically reduced as Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust has restructured and invested its funding differently.'

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She also wrote that the service is only available until 8pm, after which it switches to another team, with far fewer staff.

The trust said it did not want to comment on the services it is commissioned to provide to hospitals ahead of the meeting.

The EDP launched its Mental Health Watch campaign in October 2015 to reduce stigma around mental health issues and campaign for improved services.

Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans on 116 123 or email

•We will have live updates from this meeting from 10am onwards

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