Bereaved families, patients and carers will travel to Parliament to protest the ongoing deaths crisis at the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT).

The Campaign to Save Mental Health Services in Norfolk and Suffolk group will also meet MPs from Norfolk and Suffolk next Tuesday.

A report by auditors Grant Thorton, commissioned by the Norfolk and Suffolk Integrated Care Boards, found 8,440 deaths between April 2019 and October 2022, all of whom were either under the care of the trust, or had been up to six months before they died.

It was found that NSFT had “lost track of patient deaths”.

But doubts have been raised about the integrity of the report after it was found it had been amended three times before publishing.

In an open letter to the Health Secretary and Minister for Mental Health, campaigners said: “‘The key findings in Grant Thornton’s report are disgraceful. They present evidence of shocking and unacceptable problems with NSFT’s recording and reporting of mortality data yet in the report, governance is described as ‘strong’ or ‘requires improvement’.

“Instead of providing the promised ‘single truth’ and verification of the mortality data, this report feels to bereaved relatives like corporate ‘gaslighting’ and a minimisation of deaths which further harms bereaved people.”

Rob Behrens, the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, said: “I am concerned at the difference between the draft report and the published report, and because the differences in the texts at key points are so huge, that this is not just a bureaucratic drafting of the issue.”

Campaigners are calling for NSFT to be disbanded following what they term the largest death crisis in the history of the NHS, and want a police investigation and statutory public inquiry.

NSFT was rated “inadequate” by the Care Quality Commission in April 2022, the fourth time it received that rating, but was deemed “requires improvement” in February 2023, though they remain in special measures.

East Anglian Daily Times:

A spokesperson for NSFT said the trust was on a "rapid" journey of improvement strengthened by its chief executive officer Caroline Donovan.

The spokesman said: “We offer our sincere condolences to all families and carers of people who have lost loved ones. We can assure all families and carers that we are working really hard to learn from these incidents and do our very best to ensure they are minimised in future.

“A review of prevention of future deaths is already underway to ensure improvements in practice have been made and learning is embedded across our clinical services."

The trust said there had been "significant amount of work" over how it collected and used data, including a new system in the last six months.

The trust spokesperson said: "Key themes which we are working on, include, but not limited to are communication, waiting times, medicines management and record keeping. As an example, one area where we have made considerable progress is our work with service users, families and carers across Norfolk and Suffolk."