Suffolk: Partnership working to boost mental health coverage

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust moves into Endeavour House. L-R: Geoff Page (NHFT chairman)

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust moves into Endeavour House. L-R: Geoff Page (NHFT chairman), Andrew Hopkins (NSFT acting CEO), Deborah Cadman (Suffolk County Council CEO), Mark Bee (Suffolk County Council leader). - Credit: Archant

Mental health staff in Suffolk have linked up with other agencies in an attempt to deal with the predicted growth in demand for services in the years ahead.

The Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust has now based its main office in Endeavour House – the headquarters of the county council in Ipswich – in a move which is both symbolic and practical.

Trust chairman Gary Page said: “This is far more than a symbolic gesture, although that is important, because we are working together with the county council all the time.”

One area that is expected to see a major increase in demand is dementia care – and Mr Page said it was vital to work with the county’s social services staff on caring for those who suffered from this condition.

He said: “We are expecting to see a major increase in the number of cases of this condition in future years as the population gets older and this part of the country has an increasing number of older people.

“However it is not normally best for those suffering from this condition to be put in hospital as used to be the case. There will always be a need for some hospital places, but most people suffering from dementia are better treated in the community – often in their own home with support from health and care staff.”

Although the Trust operates across Norfolk and Suffolk, there are differences between how it operates in the two counties.

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Mr Page said: “In Norfolk we deal with five commissioning groups, in Suffolk there are two – and while much of the work is the same there are differences between the two.

“For instance in much of Norfolk we deal with clients facing drug problems – in Suffolk that is not part of our contract.”