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Suffolk: Watchdog raises concerns over plans to cut 500 mental health jobs

11:00 24 January 2013

Dr Alan Murray, chairman of Suffolk

Dr Alan Murray, chairman of Suffolk's Health Scrutiny Committee

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A HEALTH watchdog has vowed to keep a “close check” on a radical redesign of mental health services which could lead to 500 job cuts.

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Suffolk Health Scrutiny Committee raised a number of concerns regarding plans drawn up by Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT), pledging to work closely with colleagues north of the border to ensure the quality of service does not deteriorate for patients.

Chairman of the committee Alan Murray echoed the concerns of the British Medical Association regarding plans to cut the number of consultant doctors by a third and other grades of doctors by 40 per cent in three years.

Dr Murray added: “The bottom line is I am concerned they are making cuts which equate to the level of commissioned work in the last quarter of last year. We were concerned it will be difficult to upgrade services and expand quickly to meet rising demand.”

Leigh Flemming NSFT commercial director said: “In line with the rest of the NHS, NSFT will have approximately five per cent less to spend for each of the next four years.

“Rather than simply cut costs, our senior clinicians have been leading on a service strategy that takes a fresh look at our services and they have proposed new ways of delivering care which will be affordable and deliver the same, if not better, outcomes for patients.”

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  • I am concerned that local charities such as East Suffolk Mind do not appear to be commenting on proposed cuts in mental health. When I raised this a while back with the Chair of ESM he said Suffolk and Norfolk Mental Health were now customers of ESM and therefore they relied on National Mind to comment on such issues. What concerns me is that charities, by taking up contracts with statuatory bodies, are loosing their independance especially when they have, in the past, been an important voice for service users. Who now actually advocate for people affected by cuts in services?

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    iceni

    Thursday, January 24, 2013

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