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Inadequate verdict 'must be wake-up call' on mental health services, says union boss

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A senior union official has demanded action from bosses and ministers to improve mental health services in West Norfolk.

The plea from Unison officials comes after the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust was last week deemed inadequate by Care Quality Commission inspectors for a fourth time.

Trust bosses said they were “deeply sorry” over the findings, though that was questioned by campaigners on social media.

The Samphire Ward in Lynn.
The Samphire Ward in Lynn.

The findings have also prompted calls for an independent inquiry into what has gone wrong.

Unison Eastern regional organiser Peter Passingham said: “NSFT staff are desperate for things to improve things at the trust and deliver the best care for patients – indeed the only positive part of this report is the overall ‘Good’ rating for caring.

“After all this hard work it’s a real body blow to see that the trust is actually getting worse.

“This must act as a wake-up call for trust leaders. It’s absolutely vital they work with staff and their unions if they want to find a way out of this mess.

“But at the heart of the crisis at NSFT is years of underfunding from central government that has gutted mental health services. Repeated struggles to maintain safe staffing levels clearly show there simply isn’t enough investment in workers.

“Rather than reversing the decline, the government has continued to hold down wages and starve the NHS of the resources it needs. NSFT urgently needs the cash to attract staff and convince those that are there to stay.”

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