Norfolk and Suffolk mental health trust loses cash and UEA medical students amid training concerns

Students at the University of East Anglia. Picture: Joakim Boren

Students at the University of East Anglia. Picture: Joakim Boren - Credit: Joakim Boren

The region's mental health trust has been stripped of some medical students and funding amid concerns about the quality of its training.

The Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT) was being paid by Health Education England (HEE) to train 47 medical students from the University of East Anglia (UEA).

But that number has been reduced to 27 'due to the quality of training provided', according to a confidential document which went before the trust's finance committee late last year.

That has led to a £176,000 reduction in funding.

A review and restructure of the NSFT's medical undergraduate teaching is now underway.

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The document said the NSFT's non-executive directors were concerned about the loss of funding but it said the trust had put a plan in place to improve its reputation with Health Education England.

The warnings had long been in place that the NSFT training for UEA students was not up to scratch.

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Last summer the board was told the trust risked losing money and reputation because of its training for UEA students.

A spokesman for the HEE said students were moved from the NSFT to South Essex and Northants Trusts 'as a result of quality issues'.

Dr Trevor Broughton, director of medical education at NSFT, said: 'We were disappointed that feedback from this group of undergraduates in 2015 did not reflect the high standards we would hold ourselves up to.

'However, we are committed to ensure our trust offers an academic service of excellence and we want to work with our partner universities to repatriate this funding.

'The reduced funding shouldn't impact on services as the money is not intended for service delivery, but purely for training doctors of the future.'

Dr Broughton also said the NSFT had received good feedback from other students it trained from Cambridge University and St George's University in Grenada.

The trust has received an increase of £48,000 in training funding from Cambridge University, he said.

The UEA said it had a good relationship with the NSFT and would still place some of its medical students with it.

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