Health chiefs have voiced fears over the standards of care offered to mental health patients in West Norfolk following several recent deaths.
Officials from the borough’s Care Commissioning Group (CCG) say eight people who were being cared for by the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust have died unexpectedly since April.
Managers have admitted there was a rise in deaths in June, which did not continue thereafter, with none being reported in the past two months.
But CCG chairman Dr Ian Mack said they were concerned, though they accepted it was too early to say if there was a significant trend.
He said: “We have asked the trust to ensure that we have full details about these unexpected deaths to see if there is any particular theme emerging.”
Meanwhile, GPs have complained about receiving insufficient and slow feedback from the trust on patients they had referred and what action was taken. Assessment delays and a high level of dissatisfaction with the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) service were also reported.
But Kathy Chapman, the trust’s director of operations for Norfolk, said the service had significantly improved waiting times, with the average being well under the 28-day target.
She added: “In a recent review of service user satisfaction, 92 per cent of respondents reported being either satisfied or very satisfied with their treatment. The service is reviewed monthly with our commissioners and agreed joint action plans are in place to further improve the service.”
Dr Mack said the group also wanted details of the implications of a re-design of trust services on staff based in the borough, though the trust said they operated a “standard caseload” for all services.
The group has also arranged meetings between the trust and doctors at Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital to discuss emergency care issues. But Dr Mack added that the group had a “very good” working relationship with service users and carers.