Norfolk mental health trusts merge

The two organisations providing mental health care across Norfolk and Suffolk have now officially joined as one.

The plan to merge Norfolk and Waveney Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust and Suffolk Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust has been on the cards for two years, but it has now finally taken place. The launch of the new Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust was marked with a cake-cutting by staff from both sides of the border.

The trust will cover an area stretching from King's Lynn to Felixstowe and serve a population of about 1.5 million people.

Chief executive Aidan Thomas said: 'The merger of our two trusts gives us real opportunities to develop new services which we would not have been able to do if we had remained as two trusts. For example, we are looking at developing inpatient services for under-18s who currently have to travel out of the county for mental health hospital care. Our larger size means we could provide that service closer to young people's families.

'Both counties have examples of excellent service, which we can extend to the other. All round, this is good news for our clinical services and the people who use them.'

The potential savings of the merger are an estimated �5.1m over three years, most of it through changes to corporate and support services, rather than frontline staff, with an expected 80 posts affected.

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