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Back to basics: Mental health trust to focus on core services as inspectors find it inadequate

NSFT deputy chief executive and director of finance. Photo: NSFT

NSFT deputy chief executive and director of finance. Photo: NSFT

NSFT

The new chief executive of the region’s failing mental health trust has said things need to go back to basics to fix problems highlighted by inspectors.

Julie Cave was confirmed as the new executive director of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) yesterday, Thursday, ahead of a damning Care Quality Commission (CQC) report which branded the service inadequate.

Today, she admitted problems the CQC told the trust to put right in 2014 “should have been done quicker”.

And said it was key to focus on core services and not get “distracted on the nice things”.

She said: “If we are going to get it right for service users we have to get the basics right.”

Mrs Cave was insistent that although the CQC had been “disappointed” with the trust, improvements had been made - just not fast enough.

For example, she said 855 ligature points - that is items or structures which could be used for hanging - had already been removed or adapted.

MORE: Not enough staff, not enough beds - inspectors brand region’s mental health trust inadequate again

But the CQC demanded action over this, and said all must be removed.

She also admitted there were issues with the trust’s IT system Lorenzo, but said there were not plans to scrap it.

And she said NSFT had stopped sending patients to the unsafe, private Mundesley Hospital, to allow it to address its own inadequate CQC report.

“We do still have patients at Mundesley,” she said.

“And if we were concerned about their safety we would remove them. But we have stopped admitting patients so they can give assurances their service is safe.”

Instead, some patients had been send to Ellingham Hospital, in Attleborough - another private facility run by the Priory Group.

“I don’t want to send them to Manchester or Devon,” MRs Cave added.

She paid tribute to the trust’s staff, who inspectors recognised were working hard in difficult circumstances.

Particularly, the Dragonfly Unit in Carlton Coville, Suffolk, was found to be outstanding.

Her message to staff and patients was: “The board will do everything it possibly can to get us out of special measures, we’re really proud of our staff and what they deliver every day. And the service users are fundamental to what we do, it’s key that care is safe.”

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