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‘It can not go on’ - CEO’s warning on mental health funding

PUBLISHED: 06:30 23 August 2014

Michael Scott, new chief executive of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust . Photo: Steve Adams

Michael Scott, new chief executive of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust . Photo: Steve Adams

A chief executive has called on the government to urgently change the way mental health is funded after warning that services in Norfolk and Suffolk were feeling the financial strain.

Michael Scott, who took over as boss of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) earlier this year, said his organisation was already around £1m in deficit for the current financial year and the way mental health services were funded could not carry on.

The NHS trust has already cut £40m from its budget as part of a radical redesign of services, which has resulted in a reduction in front-line staff and bed numbers.

However, Mr Scott said all mental health trusts in England had been forced to cut staff numbers in order to balance the books and the funding mechanism for the NHS needed to change.

“Acute hospitals see more patients, they get more money. We see more patients and we get less money and it can not go on.”

“The good news is that the government has recognised this and from next year there will be a recognition that mental health and physical health will be on par and will be treated the same way and our appeal is that they should be funded the same way.”

“We are encouraged by government statements on parity of esteem and we want to see that translated into resources on the ground and look forward to further information in the coming year,” he said.

Mr Scott, who joined NSFT at the end of May after being CEO of Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust, said the trust was looking to save money by reducing the number of expensive out of area placements and cutting agency and temporary staffing costs by hiring new staff.

He added: “We are showing the strain this year and this is the first year we have show a deficit in recent years. We will do everything we can to protect quality services.”

Have you got a story about mental health services? Email adam.gretton@archant.co.uk

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