Mental health trust’s pledge over Royal College concerns

Andrew Hopkins, interim chief executive of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

Andrew Hopkins, interim chief executive of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust - Credit: Archant

The interim chief executive of Norfolk and Suffolk's mental health trust has insisted that its workforce numbers are within NHS guidelines, despite concerns from the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Norfolk councillors will quiz officials from the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) next week over its major restructure of services, which is set to lead to more than 400 job losses.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists has expressed its concern about the changes to the Care Quality Commission (CQC), over fears that a reduction in workforce will be a threat to patient safety.

The NHS trust is planning to reduce its budget by 20pc by 2016.

However, in a letter to the Norfolk Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC), Andrew Hopkins, interim chief executive, said: 'The trust's medical director has written to the Royal College setting out workforce numbers, the planning assumptions and confirming that the numbers are within Royal College guidelines. The trust also met with the CQC to discuss the Royal College concerns and the trust provided information on workforce numbers, quality impact and monitoring.'

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He added that the organisation had put in place an action plan to address training issues in west Norfolk following concerns from the Royal College that the trust might not be a suitable training body for doctors after this year.

Members of Norfolk HOSC will be updated by Mr Hopkins at a meeting next Thursday and the North Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group, which is the lead commissioner for mental health services in Norfolk. Councillors are also set to quiz officials from NSFT on why there is no dedicated mental health liaison worker at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn.

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