North Norfolk MP asks health secretary to meet people ‘let down’ by mental health trust
PUBLISHED: 16:41 12 December 2018 | UPDATED: 16:41 12 December 2018
Sonya Duncan/Simon Parker
A Norfolk MP has asked the health secretary to meet with his constituents who “felt they have been let down” by the region’s mental health trust.
In a letter to Matt Hancock, secretary of state for health, north Norfolk MP Norman Lamb said he had attended a meeting with constituents who felt the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) had let them down.
The Liberal Democrat MP and former health minister added: “Some were there who had lost loved ones through suicide.”
His letter follows the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) report into standards at the trust, which Mr Lamb said was “damning”.
It rated the service inadequate for the third time and prompted calls from the region’s MPs for it to be placed into special administration.
In his letter, dated Thursday, December 6, Mr Lamb said: “I attended a meeting on Friday, November 30 in Sheringham in my North Norfolk constituency attended by many people who felt they had been let down by NSFT.
“Some who were there had lost loved ones through suicide.”
The MP said: “It was clear from the meeting that many people feel seriously let down by mental health services in north Norfolk.
“The CQC’s own assessment is damning, and what makes it worse is that it’s a continuation of the last inspection which also found the trust to be inadequate, indicating there has been serious failure to improve services.”
He added: “The health secretary has signalled to me that he is taking a personal interest in the steps needed to address the report.
“I hope he will agree to meet with me and people whose lives have been affected by the failure of the mental health services.
“I would be keen for other MPs to attend as well.”
A spokesperson for the trust declined to comment specifically on Mr Lamb’s letter.
In a statement issued by the trust after the publication of the CQC report, Antek Lejk, chief executive, said he was “obviously disappointed” but “fully accepted” the regulator’s findings.
He added: “The report did note several areas of good practice, and praised staff for treating patients with compassion and kindness.
“Since receiving the report, we have been taking action to address immediate concerns and listening to staff and service users.
“We are determined to get things right.”
• The free Samaritans helpline can be accessed by calling 116 123 from anywhere in the UK.