MPs quiz Norfolk and Suffolk mental health chief

Chloe Smith, Conservative MP for Norwich North. Photo: Adrian Judd.

Chloe Smith, Conservative MP for Norwich North. Photo: Adrian Judd.

Norfolk and Suffolk MPs quizzed NHS chiefs on Monday about problems at the region's mental health trust.

Michael Scott, chief executive of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust . Photo: Steve Adams

Michael Scott, chief executive of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust . Photo: Steve Adams - Credit: Archant

The Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT) was put under investigation by health regulator Monitor last week for its growing deficit, but it has been in the headlines over the last 18 months over the quality of care.

Norwich North MP Chloe Smith, who chaired the meeting in Westminster with the trust's chief executive Michael Scott and chair Gary Page, said: 'The trust was frank with us about what needs to be done to improve mental health services in Norfolk and Suffolk.

'They agree that sending patients out of area is both bad for the patient and bad for their budget, and we got their commitment that such poor planning will not happen again.

'I also want better crisis care for constituents who need it. Now that NHS England is taking steps to get mental health funding right, I am hopeful that our trust and all its staff can be supported to do better for patients. I will stay on the case.'


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It was the first of a series of regular meetings which will now take place between MPs and the NSFT management.

MPs also raised casework from their constituents, who are facing mental health challenges, and MPs talked about their concerns over the number of patients sent out of area, crisis care resources, response times, delays in patient discharge and support for carers.

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The trust is responding to the pressure by reopening a ward in Hellesdon Hospital to increase capacity and is funding more psychiatrists in new places including the urgent care unit at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (N&N) and the Norwich walk-in Centre in its future location.

Care minister Norman Lamb MP told the meeting mental health services had been underfunded in the past but the government was addressing the difference in funding between mental and physical health.

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