Plan to reform 'inadequate' Norfolk & Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust
New leaders have pledged action to turn around Norfolk & Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, England’s worst performing mental health service.
On Wednesday, the county council’s health scrutiny committee asked what had been accomplished since the trust was rated ‘inadequate’ for the third time in November.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) listed 61 ‘must do’ actions in placing the trust into special measures. Inspectors found significant failings in the trust’s safety and that it was understaffed.
Stuart Richardson, chief operating officer, said: “We have recognised the failings identified in the CQC report and potential harm caused.
“I have been with the trust for five months, we are a new team. We are completely committed to moving the trust forward and addressing its issues.
“We see there is an opportunity to make services better for people. Our priority is to make sure our patients and staff are safe.
“The report does not make great reading and there are issues that need to be addressed immediately.”
Mr Richardson, filling in for chief executive Antek Lejk, told members the trust wanted to deliver all the must do actions before March.
"You say there has been potential harm, but I think there has been definite harm. I have real concerns over this." Conservative councillor Margaret Maybury
He said 'visible changes' include working to ensure all crisis referrals are handled within four hours, making sure those waiting a longer time are safe and maintaining a 24/7 crisis helpline.
The trust has seen a 7 per cent reduction in patients waiting longer than 18 weeks to begin treatment.
Members also heard the trust's 'intents', which included access, integration and workforce inspections.
Conservative councillor Margaret Maybury said: "The reorganisation has been a long time coming. The CQC has visited on many occasions and rated it as not good.
"You say there has been potential harm, but I think there has been definite harm. I have real concerns over this."
Mr Richardson responded to address her question about the levels of staffing - saying recruitment is a priority, as is safeguarding of employees.
The CQC will visit the trust again in the coming weeks.
Mr Richardson said after the meeting: "We are not focussing on the CQC, we are focussing on the everyday - that what we provide is safe and of good quality."