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Cross-party group of Norfolk and Suffolk MPs quiz mental health trust on improvement plans

PUBLISHED: 15:52 02 November 2017 | UPDATED: 07:57 03 November 2017

Norwich MP Chloe Smith. Photo: Eliza Boo Photography

Norwich MP Chloe Smith. Photo: Eliza Boo Photography

Eliza Boo Photography

Seven MPs from across Norfolk and Suffolk met with mental health bosses to thrash out an action plan for recovery.

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) were placed into special measures by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) last month - and Norwich North MP Chloe Smith hosted a meeting at Westminster today (Thursday).

Julie Cave, NSFT’s chief executive, and chairman Gary Page, faced questions from MPs from across the political spectrum.

These were Conservatives Ms Smith, Richard Bacon, Henry Bellingham, Peter Aldous, and Jo Churchill, Labour’s Sandy Martin, and Liberal Democrat Norman Lamb.

Ms Smith said: “It was a productive meeting.

“I’m keen to see improvements on all the things the CQC have identified.

“I was very concerned to see the trust not yet performing as it should for patients.”

Ms Smith said she had particular concerns about the interaction between the trust and GPs and A&E.

And she also worried about the numbers of beds available at the trust and out of area placements.

All Norfolk and Suffolk MPs were invited to the meeting, where a presentation was given on how the trust plans to pull itself out of special measures.

However not all attended.

Ms Smith added: “Considering the trust has just lost its chief executive, and has a number of interim executive directors in place, I think one of the first priorities is to secure the leadership.

“They have got to be able to have a stable and capable team who need to get things right.

“Unless they can do that, there’s a risk they will continue to let down patients.”

Ms Smith praised the trust’s frontline staff, and said it was key they did not become discouraged.

And she said it was possible for the organisation to recover.

“It’s too easy to hide behind a call about finance, but I do think it’s possible [to recover].

“We see other trusts elsewhere in the country who are able to so absolutely I expect it from our trust.

“We can’t put up with it any longer.”

• Have you got a story involving mental health? Email geraldine.scott@archant.co.uk

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