‘Services have been fantastic’ - praise for mental health trust amid terrible report

Maddie Ingram, 21, from Rackheath, who is under the care of mental health services. Photo: Maddie In

Maddie Ingram, 21, from Rackheath, who is under the care of mental health services. Photo: Maddie Ingram - Credit: Maddie Ingram

A number of people using mental health services in Norfolk and Suffolk have praised the care they receive despite a damning report from inspectors released today.

John Durrant, 30, and from Brampton near Beccles was first under the care of mental health services in 2006.

He said at that time he was misdiagnosed and left to his own devices.

But last year he had a psychotic breakdown and has been under the care of Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT) since.

He said: 'Services have been absolutely fantastic. They've actually told me what I could do to help me live a better life and not live a life of not doing anything.

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'I'm a part of the recovery information centre and it's done wonders for me, they've taken me into groups and I struggled with groups before.'

Maddie Ingram, 21, and from Rackheath agreed that services had improved.

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Miss Ingram was admitted to a psychiatric ward in April and now uses services in the community.

She said: 'I'm really lucky to have a really good care coordinator so I'm finding it good. I was with them for nine months about four years ago and it was completely different then so I'm finding it a lot better now.

She said now there was more support offered and more individual therapy.

She added: 'Back then it was a lot of chucking people into group therapy and nothing else. It's a lot more individualised now. I'm always involved in decisions. They give me different options. It is helping, slowly but surely it is.'

The CQC did find positives too, and the trust was rated as good for caring, an area that reflects on staff. Inspectors said: 'Staff treated patients with compassion and kindness'.

And examples of outstanding practice were also found. Inspectors said: 'On the child and adolescent mental health wards staff gave their free time to benefit patients and were passionate about making a difference, services were tailored to meet young people's individual needs and a wide range of therapeutic activities were offered into the evenings and at weekends. '

And added: 'The manager at Mariner House adult learning disability team [in Ipswich] held weekly multidisciplinary meetings with the social community care team and GP liaison nurses to discuss patients and improve inter-agency team working. This improved patient access to the right support more quickly.'

Antek Lejk, chief executive of NSFT, said: 'We are obviously disappointed with the CQC's findings, but fully accept their report and its recommendations. Although we have been working hard to make improvements, we recognise that the actions we have taken so far have not resulted in the rapid progress which both the CQC and our trust had hoped for.

'Since receiving the draft report, we have been taking action to address the immediate concerns found by the CQC and listening to our staff and service users to make sure we fully understand the deeper challenges faced by the trust. This will allow our new senior management team to make long-term, sustainable changes which are based on their knowledge and experience and also draw on best practice from across the wider NHS. We are determined to get things right.

'We need to ensure consistent good practice across the trust and bring all of our services up to the standard our patients and carers deserve. Our priorities now will be to resolve ongoing issues around access to services, waiting lists, care planning and staffing levels, while also making sure we have the right systems in place to ensure patient safety at all times.

'Such wide-scale transformation will take time and will not always be smooth, but we remain committed to making the necessary changes in the right way so that we can ensure our services provide safe, effective care for everyone in Norfolk and Suffolk.'

NSFT's board will discuss the report in public at its meeting at the Athenaeum in Bury St Edmunds on Thursday, November 29, between 12.30pm and 3.30pm.

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