Fears dispelled after damning report

HEALTH officials in Suffolk today moved quickly to dispel fears arising from a damning report by the mental health charity Mind.The report is the result of a national survey of 416 mental health in-patients and claims to have uncovered a "catalogue of woeful hospital conditions.

HEALTH officials in Suffolk today moved quickly to dispel fears arising from a damning report by the mental health charity Mind.

The report is the result of a national survey of 416 mental health in-patients and claims to have uncovered a "catalogue of woeful hospital conditions."

But the director of the Suffolk Mental Health Partnership, Martin Royal, said the situation is not representative of care in Suffolk.

He said: "I think it is important to put these findings in to context.

"We are required within the health community to have an annual patient survey, and our most recent took a sample of more than 800 people, with a 50pc response rate – that's 400 people in Suffolk alone.

"And our findings are very different."

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Mind's survey found that a quarter of people surveyed (27per cent) said they rarely felt safe while in hospital and only one in five people felt they were treated with respect and dignity by hospital staff.

Almost a quarter of respondents reported being verbally or physically threatened during their stay in hospital, with 20pc reporting physical assault.

The survey also found that 23pc of patients were still in mixed-sex wards despite government targets, which are moving towards eliminating them.

Richard Brook, chief executive of Mind, said: "Vulnerable people are being let down by the mental health services that they come to rely on, at the time they need them most."

Mr Royal said: ""In Suffolk 95pc of our provision is not mixed-sex, it is gender specific, and 80pc of our patients rated the services provided as excellent, very good or good."

Mr Royal said the survey also revealed that 96pc of patients felt they were treated with respect and dignity by health professionals.

He said: "We recognise that what we are not giving are 100pc figures.

"It's the 20pc who are not happy that we need to be focusing on and we know that we've got a lot of work to do.

"What the Mind survey does is highlight a historic national under-investment in mental health services and raises some significant national issues that need addressing.

"We in Suffolk feel we are doing as well as can be expected given the levels of investment that we have in our services."

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