Plea from trust boss in mental health debate

Clare Precey, Michael Scott and Norman Lamb on This Week

Clare Precey, Michael Scott and Norman Lamb on This Week - Credit: Archant

Cash for mental health improvements needs to get from Whitehall to Norfolk much quicker than it currently does, the man in charge of the region's biggest services provider has said.

Michael Scott, chief executive of the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT), was speaking in a 30-minute debate about the future of mental health services to be screened on Mustard TV tomorrow night.

This week Prime Minister David Cameron outlined his £1bn mental health 'revolution', including cash to improve services for expectant and new mums suffering depression, children with anorexia and for those in A&E.

However Mr Scott, whose trust is facing multi-million pound budget cuts, says too often cash takes too long to filter down locally.

He told presenter Clare Precey: 'Mental health is the topic of the day and it does seem that the money is starting to follow. The first thing that money has got to do is fill the gap. It seems to always take some time to get from Whitehall to Norfolk.'

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Mr Scott also answered questions about the problem of sending people out-of-area and the high death rate at the trust, adding: 'We were rightly criticised for sending people out of the area. We have reduced that figure.

'Any death would worry us, of course, but we have looked at the figures and the pattern is the same as nationally. In 2016 I'd like us to be out of special measures and more early interventions. I'd like more staff and more services, particularly in the community.'

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Studio guest and North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb said there was still a long way to go to achieve equality with physical health.

He added: 'We know that Clinical Commissioning Groups are under intense pressure to meet NHS standards and that means all too often they trim mental health. It is not fair and that means people do not get the treatment they need. If Norfolk falls short people have to be held to account for that.'

He also speaks about being targeted by mental health campaigners in Norfolk and outlines his hopes for services in 2016.

The show goes out on Mustard TV, freeview channel 8 and Virgin channel 159 at 7.30pm tomorrow (Thursday).

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