Waiting time figures not accurate, says latest mental health report

Jonathan Warren, chief executive at Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT). Photo: NSFT

Jonathan Warren, chief executive at Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT). Photo: NSFT - Credit: Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation T

Staff on the frontline of community mental health services are reporting much longer waiting lists than those recorded by bosses.

That was one of the findings in a Care Quality Commission (CQC) report, published earlier this month, into Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust's (NSFT) community services for adults.

Inspectors rated the service inadequate and found the waiting time "figures locally differed and generally were higher than the figures held by the trust."

In one case, in Ipswich, staff said some 265 patients were waiting for an assessment and 111 patients were waiting for treatment.

But the official trust figure for the same service was just eight and six respectively.

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The report said: "We were not assured managers had oversight of waiting times and that figures provided were accurate."

While inspectors noted improvements, and said there were positive feelings about new leadership at the trust, there were still changes to be made.

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For example in Great Yarmouth, even though the psychology team was fully staffed, inspectors found "there was still up to a two year wait for individual psychological therapy for patients".

Inspectors also found "the quality of clinical record documentation was variable in some of the services".

But they said: "Staff told us that they felt positive about recent changes to leadership posts and that they were starting to see a positive change in leadership style."

Jonathan Warren, chief executive of NSFT, said: "We're pleased that the inspectors found some progress had been made in all areas and a sense of urgency about making improvements.

"We know there's still an enormous amount of improvement required, which is why our organisation and staff are fully focused on achieving this as soon as possible.

"We're already aware of the issues this report helps to shine a light on, and are working at pace with our staff and partners to improve quality and standards.

"Our goal is for each and every service user to have the best possible experience at all times on a consistent basis, and to eliminate any variation in the standard of care we provide."

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