Mental health trust is first in country to be put into special measures

Michael Scott,chief executive of Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust

Michael Scott,chief executive of Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust - Credit: Archant

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust has become the first mental health trust in the country to be put into special measures, the health sector regulator has said.

Urgent improvements are needed to the care patients receive at the trust, Monitor said.

The move comes after the Care Quality Commission (CQC) gave the trust an overall rating of inadequate earlier this month after identifying a number of serious problems, including concerns about the safety of services, staffing levels and leadership.

The trust provides a wide range of health and social care services, specialising in mental health and wellbeing, according to its website.

Monitor said that, in response to the CQC inspection’s finding, it has put the trust into special measures so it can receive tailored support to address the challenges it faces.


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This will include appointing an improvement director to provide expertise and hold the trust to account, and arranging it to be buddied with a high-performing trust.

New conditions on Norfolk and Suffolk’s licence means Monitor can also replace members of the trust’s leadership team if the required improvements are not made.

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Katherine Cawley, regional director at Monitor, said: “Patients in Norfolk and Suffolk deserve to receive the highest possible care, and so the failings that the CQC has identified in the trust’s services are disappointing.

“We are pleased that the trust has already started to address some of the issues raised by the CQC, but much more needs to be done. That’s why we have put Norfolk and Suffolk into special measures, to ensure that it gets the extra help and support it needs to make the improvements that are required.”

The trust’s chief executive Michael Scott said: “Although disappointing, it is not a surprise to us, coming as it does after the CQC’s recommendations were made in January. But as we made clear then, we recognise we need to improve the care we provide and we need to carefully manage our finances to a healthier position.

“We will achieve this by working closely with our staff and Monitor to address the issues we face.

“We have already started down the road to recovery and we welcome the additional support we’ll get through this process. We will be learning from other organisations and every single member of staff at this trust will have a part to play in getting us back on track.”

Annie Topping, chief executive of Healthwatch Suffolk, said: “This outcome will give additional focus to the Trust to concentrate on further improving its patient services. It is imperative that commissioners and the Trust itself take extraordinary steps to deliver the services that people in Norfolk and Suffolk deserve and this is what the reality of being placed in special measures must mean.

“In addition, we have made a number of recommendations to the Trust following our recent report about service user experiences of being referred into NSFT services. The Trust should use these and incorporate them into its ongoing journey to improve the services. Healthwatch Suffolk is committed to working in partnership with the Trust and other stakeholders to ensure that the service user and carer voice is heard and is at the center of the improvements that need to be made.”

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