Mental health trust boss sets her sights on outstanding rating

NSFT deputy chief executive and director of finance. Photo: NSFT

NSFT deputy chief executive and director of finance. Photo: NSFT - Credit: NSFT

'Outstanding is the next step for us.'

That was the message to senior managers at the region's mental health trust as they came together for an honest discussion on what went wrong in their most recent inspection result.

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) was plunged into special measures last month, after the Care Quality Commission found it inadequate in a number of areas.

But today, an open and frank discussion was held between 110 of the staff leaders and chief executive Julie Cave, to move forward.

Addressing the meeting, at the King's Centre in Norwich, Mrs Cave said: 'This is not about me standing here and speaking, this is about getting your thoughts. Staff engagement and getting feedback on what you think we should do is one of the most important things to me.'

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She added: 'I feel outstanding is the next step for us.'

It was also revealed the trust had been assigned a buddy trust - East London Foundation Trust, which is rated as outstanding.

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Mrs Cave said: 'A team went to visit and what they told us was actually we're not as bad as we're made out to be.'

Managers gave their thoughts on why the trust had failed to improve on previous inspection reports.

Dawn Collins, interim director of nursing, said: 'Quite simply we did not do what we were told by the regulators.'

More specifically, managers said they felt there had been little accountability for mistakes and responsibility had not been taken when things went wrong.

Mrs Cave admitted the trust had not performed well on accountability in the past, but her drive to recovery had a strong focus on involving all levels of staff and ensuring they were accountable - which could include making sure there were consequences for actions.

She said: 'We're all responsible for this recovery.

'You've got high-level staff here today but I want to run these sessions across the trust for all staff.'

Others said they were keen to see the trust learn from past mistakes.

One manager said: 'Lots of people are scared of a radical redesign because of the past.'

But he said there was also an appetite for a change in processes to ensure the situation improves.

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