Norfolk NHS conference sees vision of improved mental health care

A vision of improved nursing training and care to prevent a repeat of recent scandals involving dementia and mental health patients was delivered at an NHS conference in Norfolk yesterday.

The NHS Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust wants to revitalise the traditional caring and supportive role of nurses following recent reports over a failure in the most basic care given to dementia and mental health patients.

In October, a report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) revealed inspectors made 100 unannounced visits to hospitals across the country to assess dignity and nutrition standards and found 55 cases where the care received by elderly patients was 'alarming.'

Particular areas of concern were a lack of support for those who needed help eating, poor hygiene and curtains not being closed properly.

Locally, the CQC has given the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston three warnings about the standard of patient care.

The conference at the Park Hotel in Diss heard from Roz Brooks, the foundation's director of nursing, and Maggie Wheeler, the foundation's chair, who told an audience including psychotherapists and mental health nurses the aim was for improved training and a better understanding of a patient's needs.

Ms Brooks wanted a longer-term view of a patient's treatment and better support in the community so people could lead normal lives while coping with their condition.

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She said: 'I think for me it is about trying to make sure the patient is in the right place at the right time so they make sure they get the right treatment.'