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Patients' group vows to be 'critical friend of Norfolk and Suffolk mental health trust after fourth 'inadequate' rating

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A group which represents patients and care users says it wants to do more to ensure public views on the mental health trust serving West Norfolk reach its bosses.

Officials from Healthwatch Norfolk say they are "sad" after the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust was deemed "inadequate" for a fourth time by the Care Quality Commission today.

But they also say they are encouraged by the pledges of bosses to tackle the organisation's failings.

The new Samphire Ward (45113365)
The new Samphire Ward (45113365)

In a statement, Healthwatch chief executive Alex Stewart said: "We are sad to hear the news of the CQC rating issued to the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust today.

"The staff there are working incredibly hard caring for and treating patients, and we understand this will be upsetting for those working at the sharp end of patient care.

"Equally, the needs of patients are paramount, and we are aware from feedback we have received that there are concerns about some elements of the way people are being looked after.

Alex Stewart, chief executive of Healthwatch Norfolk. (54637448)
Alex Stewart, chief executive of Healthwatch Norfolk. (54637448)

"It is encouraging that senior figures in the trust are acknowledging publicly there is work to do, and, moving forwards, Healthwatch Norfolk will be working constructively with the trust and patients to help with this.

"People have said in the media and social media that they share their views about the trust and do not know what happens next.

"Healthwatch Norfolk is keen to help gather this feedback, pass this on to the trust, and work with them on a long-term basis to help improve care."

Mr Stewart said his organisation was already hearing reports of improvements as a result of mental health specialists being attached to the accident and emergency departments at both the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn and the James Paget Hospital in Gorleston.

Mental health stock images (55071998)
Mental health stock images (55071998)

He added: "Working together is the only way to improve things from those at the top of the trust through to specialist organisations, patients’ groups, and all of us in Norfolk.

"Today’s announcement is not good news, but I am heartened that the trust is being open and transparent about its shortcomings.

"Healthwatch Norfolk is keen to do all it can to help it improve by gathering and analysing patient feedback on a long-term basis.

"We will act as a critical friend to both champion the concerns of patients while also doing all we can to support staff towards improving care even more for those who need it most."

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