Under-fire mental health trust should be split, says council motion

Sarah Adams has filed a motion calling for the split of the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

Sarah Adams has filed a motion calling for the split of the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust. Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Gregg Brown

Calls have been made for Norfolk and Suffolk’s under-fire mental health trust to be split up, so it can provide a better focus for each county.

A motion proposed by Suffolk county councillor Sarah Adams calls the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) “not fit for purpose” - and says each county should have its own dedicated service.

However in response to the motion, the NSFT has said it is “taking actions” to address immediate concerns raised by inspectors “to make sure we fully understand the deeper challenges faced by the trust”.

Ms Adams said: “The NSFT has been failing the people of Suffolk for many years.

“After three CQC ratings of ‘inadequate’, it is obvious that the many failings are deep rooted and systemic.

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“This has led to countless lives being made worse because of a poor quality of service for those who need them most.

“We are calling on the council to actively explore how this can happen with the secretary of state for health, Matt Hancock, in order to ensure that Suffolk has the mental health services it needs and deserves.”

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The health trust has been going through a raft of changes since its third ‘inadequate’ rating given by the NHS’ regulatory body, the Care and Quality Commission, in November 2018.

At a recent scrutiny meeting the trust’s chief operating officer, Stuart Richardson, spoke of the need of a “culture change” at the organisation for it to see significant improvements.

In response to the motion, Mr Richardson said: “Since receiving the CQC report, we have been taking action to address the immediate concerns found by the CQC and listening to our staff and service users to make sure we fully understand the deeper challenges faced by the trust.

“We are working closely with our partners to implement the new mental health strategies that have been developed over the last few months and how we can develop more integrated services supporting people in the community.”

Councillor Beccy Hopfensperger, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for adult care, said: “The importance of and urgency to review mental health has never been more critical.

“The council and NHS services must come together to fix a broken system.

“This is why Suffolk County Council’s cabinet in February backed a new vision for mental health provision in Suffolk – with a plan for how new measures will be implemented due out later this year.”

Councillor Inga Lockington, Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent Group spokesman said: “If the current Trust cannot demonstrate how they will urgently address all the issues raised by the CQC inspections, then we see merit in Suffolk exploring other avenues.

“We cannot keep letting down the mental health needs of Suffolk residents.”

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