Patients rate Norfolk and Suffolk mental health trust as one of worst in country

Michael Scott, chief executive of the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust. Photo : Steve Adams

Michael Scott, chief executive of the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust. Photo : Steve Adams - Credit: Archant

The region's mental health service has been named as one of the worst performing in the country in a survey of patients.

Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust, which was brought out of 'special measures' in October, was rated particularly badly for supporting people with mental health difficulties during a crisis.

The crisis team has been reorganised as the trust dealt with cuts.

Regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC) which carried out the community mental healthcare survey will now be writing to the worst performing trusts demanding action.

They said the NSFT was one of four out of 58 trusts providing community mental health care in the country which performed much worse than everyone else.

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In five measures out of 10 in the survey the NSFT scored worse than the average, and performed the same in the other five measures.

The worst scores were for informing patients who was in charge of their care, involving patients in reviews of their care, explaining to people why their care had changed, helping patients find support if they needed work, crisis care and overall experience.

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A spokesman for the Campaign to Save Mental Health Services in Norfolk and Suffolk said the results showed the NSFT should not have been brought out of 'special measures' by the CQC in October.

He said: 'The CQC inspection found that NSFT has a high number of deaths and does not have enough staff, doctors and beds.

'We are not surprised. The NSFT cut the number of doctors and nurses in its crisis and community teams. 'NSFT closed its specialist teams. NSFT doesn't have enough beds.

'NSFT closed its Norwich base for community teams and moved many staff to an office block in Wymondham.

'NSFT's commissioners have cut funding again and again and again. The number of unexpected deaths has doubled. Enough is enough.'

Michael Scott, chief executive of the trust, said: 'The results of the survey are disappointing and of great concern to us.

'Our staff have worked extremely hard to improve our services, in particular our community based services over the past two years and these results do not echo the improvements we have put in place.

'But this feedback is vital in informing how we continue to improve, and the areas in which we need to focus even more closely and put our efforts in raising our standards of care for our service users.'

Nationally, the CQC asked 13,000 people this year about their experiences of community mental health services.

One in three people reported that their overall experience of care was poor, rating it as six or below out of 10.

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