Boost for psychosis patients following extra £1.3m funding

PICTURE POSED BY MODEL: People who have experienced psychosis are being asked to take part in a nati

PICTURE POSED BY MODEL: People who have experienced psychosis are being asked to take part in a national study which aims to improve treatment for patients. Photo credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Psychosis patients are set for a boost after a £1.3m cash grant was awarded to the region's mental health trust.

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) has reached an agreement with Norfolk and Waveney's health chiefs over funding for the mental health target - which was pushed through by former health minister Norman Lamb, the MP for North Norfolk.

It means that from April 1 this year, at least 50pc of people who experience psychosis should receive treatment within two weeks of being referred.

The news was announced at a meeting of NSFT's board of directors today.

Julie Cave, the trust's finance director, said it was 'good news' for the trust and patients.

Previously NSFT was only funded to achieve this target for patients aged between 14-35, but the new money means patients up to the age of 65 can expect the standard.

The cut-off point at 65 is in place because people over that age very rarely have psychotic episodes.

According to NHS England early intervention in psychosis can 'significantly' reduce the rate of relapse, risk of suicide, and number of hospital admissions.

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The package of intensive treatment that should now be provided involves support for patients from a range of health professionals including psychiatrists, mental health nurses and social workers, and should match the 'best practice' blueprint contained in guidelines laid down by the clinical watchdog National Institute for Clinical Excellence.

NHS England estimates the treatment should cost the NHS £8,250 a year per patient.

However the NSFT has not been able to negotiate an agreement with Suffolk's clinical commissioning groups yet, meaning over 35-year olds in the county (excluding Waveney) may face longer waits for treatment.

At today's meeting it also emerged that the NSFT is on course to achieve a £4.8m deficit - as planned with regulators at the start of the financial year.

The trust also expects to meet its savings target of £10m, but looks set to breach its spending cap on hiring agency staff.

Trust chiefs also confirmed yesterday that patients will still be sent to Mundesley Hospital, despite it being put in special measures.

What is psychosis?

According to NHS England - Psychosis is characterised by hallucinations, delusions and a disturbed relationship with reality, and can cause considerable distress and disability for the person and their family or carers.

A diagnosis of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, psychotic depression or other less common psychotic disorder will usually be made, although it can take months or even years for a final diagnosis.

People who experience psychosis can and do recover.

The time from onset of psychosis to the provision of evidence-based treatment has a significant influence on long-term outcomes.

The sooner treatment is started the better the outcome and the lower the overall cost of care.

The target requires that more than 50pc of people experiencing first episode psychosis commence a National Institute for Health and Care Excellence-recommended package of care within two weeks of referral.

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