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Retired doctor urges scrutinised NHS bosses to look after their own mental health

PUBLISHED: 16:57 30 November 2017 | UPDATED: 16:57 30 November 2017

Dr Richard Gorrod. Photo: NSFT

Dr Richard Gorrod. Photo: NSFT

NSFT

A former GP who considered taking his own life after retirement has warned bosses at the region’s failing mental health trust to look out for their own wellbeing during this time of intense scrutiny.

NSFT board chairman, Gary Page. Picture: LUCY TAYLORNSFT board chairman, Gary Page. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

Richard Gorrod issued his poignant message to board members of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) at the close of a public meeting at Endeavour House in Ipswich 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 Gorrod, who is service user governor at NSFT and vice-chairman of Norwich Mind, said: “Everyone in this room is under loads of stress and pressure as a result of the CQC result and I want to ask what you all do for your own health and mental health?

“I thought I was bullet proof because I was a doctor but actually, don’t think you are immune to it.”

In response to this, chairman Gary Page said: “We spent some time earlier on today having a reflection session and people are under considerable pressure here and you are right, none of us are immune and we are all trying to deal with that at the same time as trying to motivate and inspire the organisation to get on with the job that needs to be done and look after some really vulnerable people.”

The meeting also heard that the Suffolk Access and Assessment Service, which deals with patient referrals in the county, has received the most complaints of all NSFT teams from July to September this year.

Dawn Collins, interim director of nursing and patient safety, said: “It’s very much down to workload and capacity and the amount of people accessing that service.

“There’s also some staff attitude in there but that could be because they are overwhelmed and burdened by the workload.”

Suffolk’s director of operations, Pete Devlin, said that team dealt with 15,000 referrals a year.

He added: “It’s the initial point of contact of the service so it’s a critical point around expectation of what the service is there to deliver. It’s an area where we historically receive a high volume of complaints.”

Mr Devlin said emergency assessments would be handled by a separate crisis team from April next year.

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