How health secretary and Suffolk MP Matt Hancock responded to our questions about failing trust
PUBLISHED: 16:30 28 November 2018 | UPDATED: 17:19 28 November 2018
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West Suffolk MP and health secretary Matt Hancock is facing calls to intervene over the future of the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT).
This newspaper put a series of questions to him today and yesterday, but his office said he was not available to speak to our reporters directly.
Topics we wanted him to talk about included patient safety, NSFT’s next steps and his message to the people of Suffolk in the wake of today’s CQC report.
Key questions we wanted Mr Hancock to answer included:
• To the best of your knowledge, are patients safe in the care of NSFT?
• Enough is enough – that’s what people are telling us, including those in your constituency. What steps are you taking to reassure them, both as a Suffolk MP and health secretary, that action will be taken?
• Is special administration – reserved only for the worst performing NHS trusts – something being considered for NSFT? Has it been ruled out?
• There are calls for Suffolk’s mental health services to split with Norfolk. Is this a move you would support, or an option being considered?
• Change is on the horizon, as you mentioned in national interviews. We want to know, is this the end of NSFT as we know it, and if so, how will this affect patients?
• A lot of people, including patients and families, want to hear your views as a Suffolk MP and as health secretary. What is your message to them, following a third failed CQC in your patch?
• How can families of loved ones lost while the trust has been in crisis be reassured by you that action will be taken, and fast?
• Do you see a future for NSFT in Suffolk, and if so, what does it look like?
However, in response to these topics, we received this statement via email: “This is a very concerning report that raises serious questions about how we are delivering mental health services in Norfolk and Suffolk.
“The first priority must always be the welfare and safety of patients.
“As a local MP I’ve been working on supporting mental health services and helping people to get access to mental health services for years – we now need to take a serious look at all the options to ensure we deliver the best possible care to the people who need it.
“The report makes clear that mental health services in Norfolk and Suffolk are not good enough and need serious improvement.
“This situation cannot continue and I am determined to sort it out.”
His remarks came as the CQC revealed they are not ruling out a special administration arrangement for NSFT.