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Mental health services at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust on road to recovery, says care minister

PUBLISHED: 15:57 04 July 2014 | UPDATED: 15:57 04 July 2014

Norman Lamb MP. 


Archant Norfolk 2014

The government’s care minister said he believed mental health services in Norfolk were on the road to recovery after meeting with the bosses of an under-scrutiny NHS trust.

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) has come under fire from campaigners and unions over the last year over concerns about pressure on inpatient and community services.

However, Norman Lamb, the minister responsible for mental health services and North Norfolk MP, said he had been assured that NSFT chiefs were working hard to address the pressure on beds, which has seen some patients being sent more than 200 miles away because none were available locally. Mr Lamb, who met with new chief executive Michael Scott, Clinical Commissioning Groups, and representatives from Unison yesterday at Hellesdon Hospital, said he believed that the NHS trust was tackling the issues surrounding inpatient beds and high community caseloads. He added that there was a recognition that staff morale needed to rebuilt.

“One of the things I have been struck by is a dramatic reduction in out-of-area beds in the last five weeks. It is about managing beds better and ensuring people are discharged on time and that requires good liaison with housing authorities. There is a long way to go and it is a very similar situation to the ambulance trust. Both organisations now have new experienced leaders in place and gives us an opportunity to ensure services are up to the necessary standard,” he said.

Mr Lamb added that the government was aiming to bring in new targets and payment by results methods next year to ensure mental health trusts received a fairer share of NHS funds.

Carol Briggs, joint branch secretary of the NSFT Unison branch, said: “Although discussions were open and honest, we remain unconvinced at how words are going to turn into action and most importantly much needed additional resources. Until the inequality of funding for mental health services compared to physical health services is addressed, it is going to be exceptionally difficult to make the improvements that are needed.”

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  • I have always wanted to believe that Norman Lamb represents the most acceptible face of the coalition government (if it has one at all). However, I am disappointed by his comments here. I know insiders who work on the front line at Hellesdon and elsewhere who would advise him that their view of the situation is very different from that of the Trust bosses.

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    gilded beams

    Wednesday, July 9, 2014

  • Well its going to be a mighty long road to recovery after all the damage of appalling cuts to staff and services, and the unsustainable workloads caused by those so called 'efficiency savings' that the Trust made in response to government demands for a cheapskate service. Tell me that Jeremy Hunt has changed his view on health policy,or that the Trust has resolved to stand up to him, and I might be feeling a bit more optimistic.

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    Tuesday, July 8, 2014

  • How sad, I thought Lamb was better than this. "Aftercare"? There is none. The Service is the stalking-horse in the process of shrinking the NHS to pre-Obamacare standards, or worse. Hit the vulnerable first. We, the people, have allowed ourselves to be enslaved.

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    Saturday, July 5, 2014

  • The aftercare is what is wrong with this system

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    Saturday, July 5, 2014

  • Norman Lamb and the Trust's CEO remain in complete denial of the crisis that is before their very eyes.They cannot gloss over what is a human catastrophe,one which they are about to make worse,for the ideological purpose of marketisation.

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    Peter Watson

    Friday, July 4, 2014

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