Leaders unite over NHS Trust

Council leaders across Norfolk and Waveney have put aside political differences and joined forces to urge people to have more involvement in mental health services across the area.

By Mark Nicholls

Health Correspondent

Council leaders across Norfolk and Waveney have put aside political differences and joined forces to urge people to have more involvement in mental health services across the area.

The leaders of all the major authorities in the area have signed an open letter in support of the drive by the Norfolk and Waveney Mental Health Trust to recruit members for a new NHS Foundation Trust.

The new Trust, which will replace the current body, will enable people across the area to have a greater say over how mental health services will be run in the future and where those services will be. People can get involved by joining as a member of the new Trust and even by standing as a governor.

In the letter, the council leaders say: “We wholeheartedly support the campaign because - for the first time since the inception of the NHS in 1948 - it will be possible for members of the general public to have a direct influence on the way in which our mental health services are run.

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“We believe that members drawn from the widest cross-section of our community will provide the best possible chance of raising the profile of mental health services, ensuring they develop in the most appropriate way, and reducing the misunderstanding and stigma which many people with mental ill health experience.”

The letter is signed by Shaun Murphy (Norfolk County Council), Vivienne Clifford-Jackson (South Norfolk District Council), Barry Coleman (Great Yarmouth District Council), John Dobson (Borough Council of King's Lynn and West Norfolk), Steve Morphew (Norwich City Council), William Nunn (Breckland District Council), Simon Partridge (North Norfolk District Council), Simon Woodbridge (Broadland District Council), and Mark Bee (Waveney District Council).

Fiona Cutts, an assistant director for Norfolk and Waveney Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, said: “This is the first time I have known all the council leaders unite in such a way. It is absolutely fantastic that they have chosen to encourage others to play a part in our new NHS Foundation Trust by joining us as members, and it really emphasises the value of mental health services.”

Membership to the new NHS Foundation Trust is free, with members deciding to what extent they would like to become involved. Formore information call 01603 421494 or e-mail foundationtrust@nwmhp.nhs.uk