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Staff fighting to keep mental health patients safe

Posted in: Medical Negligence 

A whistle-blower has warned the NHS that hospital staff are struggling to keep patients safe within a failing mental health trust. The whistle-blower, known as Claire to maintain anonymity, says that very few improvements have been made within the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust, despite the input of regulators since February.

Claire says that increasing workload pressure and severe staff cuts are causing unsafe care conditions for vulnerable patients. She said that those at risk of self-harm and suicide are not being provided with the care they require.

Claire said: “For a lot of us it feels as if we’re just firefighting. Or in other areas it feels like you’re having to ration the treatments so some people can have it, but there isn’t enough treatment to go round everyone.”

Month-long wait

25-year-old Matthew Dunham, from Norwich, is an example of this inadequate care. After a month-long wait to see a specialist at the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust, despite telling a mental health expert about his suicidal desires, Mr Dunham took his own life. Two years on, his mother believes that not enough was done to protect her son.

After the Care Quality Commission put the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust under ‘special measures’ at the beginning of the year, a board spokesperson said that the trust is making constant improvements to ensure that it provides safe and quality care to its patients. The spokesperson added that extra funding had been provided to recruit more staff and extra beds had been opened in central Norfolk.

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