Inadequate mental health trust vows to improve after Suffolk Parent Carer Network releases damning statement

Julie Cave, NSFT chief executive. Photo: NSFT

Julie Cave, NSFT chief executive. Photo: NSFT - Credit: NSFT

Families in need of mental health support in Suffolk are being “pushed to breaking point and beyond” due to failings in the care system, it has been claimed.

Suffolk Parent Carer Network (SPCN) has released a damning statement about Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT), which was rated inadequate and placed into special measures by the health watchdog this week.

Members of SPCN are “sadly, not surprised” by the findings of the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The statement reads: “The lived experience of families across Suffolk is one of intense frustration at a system which is difficult to access and where the quality of services vary widely.

“Since 2013 parents and carers have consistently told the trust of their experiences which include long waiting times to access services, being turned away unless their child/young person was “actively” suicidal, long waits to see a psychiatrist, staffing levels which prevented continuity of care, therapeutic intervention being recommended which NSFT then did not provide, no crisis services, no care plans and a postcode lottery about what service you received dependent on where you lived in Suffolk.”

SPCN claims children and young people with an autism diagnosis are being excluded from accessing mental health services.


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However, some parents have told SPCN that when their children were able to be seen, the care they received was “good and that frontline staff genuinely wanted to make a difference”.

The group has called for a “change in approach and leadership” at NSFT in order to transform it into a service that is “fit for purpose”.

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The statements adds: “Enough time has been wasted and we can no longer stand by and allow the lived experience of families to be one where it takes them to breaking point and beyond and where children and young people are put at risk and families passed from service to service.”

NSFT chief executive, Julie Cave, said the current demand for the trust’s services was higher than it had capacity to meet, but it would continue to make the case for further funding, especially in child and adolescent mental health care.

She added: “We are sorry and apologise unreservedly for the families’ experiences which SPCN highlight in their statement.

“We recognise that a new approach is needed and that this means that we truly listen to, and change, in response to what the people who need our services tell us.”

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