'Urgent steps are required' - MP's action call over failing health trust

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis speaking at the the Northern Ireland Business and Innovatio

Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis wants answers over the trust's failings - Credit: PA

The MP for Great Yarmouth has said "urgent" action is needed to address failings at the region's mental health trust.

Brandon Lewis said he will be writing to the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust  to arrange a meeting on resolving the problems it faces.

Campaign to Save Mental Health Services demonstrating at Hellesdon Hospital. Roberta (left) from the

Campaign to Save Mental Health Services demonstrating at Hellesdon Hospital. Roberta (left) from the campaign. Pictures: Brittany Woodman - Credit: Brittany Woodman

It follows the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust being downgraded to a rating of “‘inadequate” by the Care Quality Commission – the fourth time in a decade that it has had special measures imposed on it.

Mr Lewis said: "“The CQC report is clearly extremely concerning and serious.

"Residents deserve a robust mental health education service and it is clear that the trust is falling far from the mark.

"Urgent steps are required, and the trust's leadership need to ensure that they move rapidly to implement their improvement plan.”

The trust was visited by CQC inspectors between November 2 and December 29 last year.

It was its first inspection since January 2020, when it showed some improvement.

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The latest inspection found a a catalogue of failings seeing the trust downgraded once more.

These included safe levels of staff not being consistently maintained; ligature points not being removed in a timely manner and waiting lists not being managed.

Other failings were staff not being provided with sufficient training or senior supervision and management not ensuring that lessons were learned from patient incidents and deaths.

Bosses at the trust have said they accept the concerns raised in the inspection and are determined to turn things around.

Stuart Richardson, trust chief executive, said: “We fully accept the findings of the report and know we need to improve and do so quickly.

Stuart Richardson, NSFT chief operating officer. Photo: NSFT

Trust CEO Stuart Richardson - Credit: NSFT

“Our focus has to be on how we make sure we meet the requirements of the CQC’s action plan and make continuous improvements."

The inspection had found many front-line staff to be hard-working, caring and desperately keen to make a difference.

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust was established in 2012 following a merger between two NHS trusts, one covering Norfolk and Waveney and the other covering the rest of Suffolk.