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‘Appalled’ CCG bosses call for cultural change at failing mental health trust

PUBLISHED: 18:37 28 November 2017 | UPDATED: 18:37 28 November 2017

Hellesdon Hospital, headquarters of NSFT. Picture: JAMES BASS

Hellesdon Hospital, headquarters of NSFT. Picture: JAMES BASS

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2009

Leading doctors in Suffolk are “appalled” at the state of the region’s mental health trust and have called for a cultural change at the troubled organisation.

Dr Billy McKee. Picture: PAGEPIX Dr Billy McKee. Picture: PAGEPIX

Governing body members at the Ipswich and East Suffolk NHS Clinical Commissioning Group discussed their concerns about Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) during a public meeting today.

Last month, the trust was rated ‘inadequate’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and placed into special measures for the second time within three years.

Dr Billy McKee said: “I think it’s worth putting on record that we are appalled by this and we are appalled for the second time and we didn’t see this coming.”

He added: “The barriers of getting into this system are mind-boggling, it’s like getting into The Pentagon, but once you get into this service it’s actually pretty good.”

Dr Mark Shenton, chairman of the Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG governing body. Picture: PAGEPIX Dr Mark Shenton, chairman of the Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG governing body. Picture: PAGEPIX

The CQC has created an action plan for NSFT made up to 25 recommendations, which it must be put into place by March next year.

A new improvement director employed by NHS Improvement began working at the trust in October to help staff implement the changes needed; and NSFT has been allocated an ‘outstanding’ buddy trust in east London for added support.

Dr Lorna Kerr said the CQC’s report was “concerning”.

She added: “I’m pleased there is someone coming in from outside who has a lot of experience who needs to give them direction because I’m not sure they have got it at the senior management level to be able to turn this around at the moment.”

Julie Cave, NSFT chief executive. Picture: NSFT Julie Cave, NSFT chief executive. Picture: NSFT

Dr Mark Shenton said it was essential NSFT worked in collaboration with partner organisations in the healthcare system to address the issues raised and to bring about the “cultural change” needed.

Pauline Quinn, patient and public involvement lay member, said: “Of central concern to me is the concern of patients and service users who really fail to understand why such a service continues to be commissioned and I think that is a remarkably good question.”

In response to the comments made in the meeting, Julie Cave, NSFT’s chief executive, said the trust had “complete confidence and determination” in its ability to improve and vowed to get the basic rights first then move upwards.

She added: The organisational culture has undergone a huge change over the last few years, but where the culture has to change further is in accountability and responsibility, ensuring that we deliver what we promise at all levels, with support and engagement from all of our staff.

“Cultural change has to come from the grass roots as well as from the board. I believe we have seen great strides in this since 2015. We know what we still need to improve; and we know what we’ve got wrong. We need a positive and collective response from everyone to put things right, as soon as possible.

“I, as chief executive, along with my colleagues on the board, will lead and support the changes.”

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