Category Archives: Featured Article

Norfolk and Suffolk mental health services branded 'inadequate'

Special Measures

The mental health trust for Norfolk and Suffolk is being recommended to be placed in special measures after being rated inadequate.

The Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust was “not a safe, effective or responsive service”, said the Care Quality Commission.

The report said there were also concerns about a lack of beds and “urgent action” was needed.

The trust said it would improve services and put patients first.

Norfolk and Suffolk mental health Skype ‘outsourcing’ causes concern

The Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust manages mental health wards at Hellesdon Hospital near Norwich, and around the counties

A health trust’s proposal to help treat patients with depression by using “staff from lower wage countries” via Skype showed a lack of understanding of mental health care, say campaigners.

The idea was put forward in a report to the government by the mental health trust for Norfolk and Suffolk.

Unison, which represents mental health staff, said the plan failed to show an understanding of mental health care.

A trust spokesman said the proposal was looked at but has been dismissed.

The plan, drawn up towards the end of last summer, was contained in a successful application to the government by the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT) to fund consultants to look into new ways of running the trust.

Emma Corlett, of Unison, criticised the suggestion that patients with depression could be helped by staff from low-wage countries via Skype

One option could see the NSFT become a mutual – a firm owned by its workers, as is the case with retailer John Lewis.

The report said the use of staff from outside the UK to help prevent depression and psychosis was a “new approach” to be explored.

Emma Corlett, spokeswoman for Unison at the trust, said: “Our view of the report is that it shows whoever did the application did not have a very clear understanding of the work frontline staff do or the way face-to-face therapy works.

Dementia: how our campaign for patient dignity in hospitals took off

When I wrote about my father’s death, it touched many readers, all passionate to help dementia sufferers

‘Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” Over the past few weeks, I have become freshly aware of the wisdom of this saying, aware both of this great battle we fight and of the kindness of people that runs like an underground river beneath the noise and hurtle of public events.

Two months ago, I wrote a piece in the Observer about the death of my father, who had had dementia for many years, but had been leading a contented life at home until he went into hospital with leg ulcers. I described how he entered able to walk, talk, wash himself, feed himself, work in his beloved garden, listen to poetry, be happy – and how, five weeks later, he came out a skeleton, incontinent, immobile, inarticulate, bed-bound. He lived like a ghost in his own life for eight more months; his dying was both a great sorrow but also his release.