Union says east’s mental health services unsafe

Andrew Hopkins, acting chief executive of Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation NHS Trust
Andrew Hopkins, acting chief executive of Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation NHS Trust
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The health union Unison has raised a formal grievance over the reorganisation of Norfolk and Suffolk’s mental health services.

It has called on Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust to halt the reorganisation after a survey of members revealed 81 per cent felt staffing levels were too low for safety and 86 per cent felt they were not providing a good service.

Unison branch spokeswoman Emma Corlett said: “Our members have been raising escalating concerns over a number of months about the impact of the service reorganisation, which the NSFT board have consistently failed to address.

“Things are now at such a critical point that immediate action needs to be taken to address the current risks to the safety and quality of patient care.”

The union says members have complained of unsafe staffing levels, unmanageable workloads and failure of management to act on concerns about the reorganisation’s impact on services.

Andrew Hopkins, acting chief executive of the NSFT, said:”This came as a surprise as we have worked constructively with them over the past two years on the service strategy.

”We acknowledge that there are areas of improvement to be made but are disappointed that they have resorted to this approach, rather than engage in discussions with the management.

“We reject any suggestion that the services we provide are unsafe. We have recently been subject to a review on the risks to quality of our services by KPMG on behalf of Monitor, and the Care Quality Commission has completed inspections of a number of our inpatient and community services. While some concerns have been highlighted, which the Trust is addressing, these reviews do not paint the picture that Unison is presenting.”