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Campaigners call for inquiry after fourth 'inadequate' verdict on Norfolk and Suffolk mental health trust

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A campaign group has demanded "a complete change of culture" after the mental health trust serving West Norfolk was deemed "inadequate" by inspectors for a fourth time.

Bosses of the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) say they are "deeply sorry" following the Care Quality Commission (CQC) report, published this morning.

But the Campaign to Save Mental Health Services in Norfolk and Suffolk says an independent inquiry should take place, while other individuals and organisations must take responsibility too.

Campaigners have demanded radical change in response to a highly critical report into mental health services.
Campaigners have demanded radical change in response to a highly critical report into mental health services.

In a statement released following the publication of the new inspection report, the group said it welcomed the CQC's recognition of the trust's failings.

But it estimates there have been more than 1,000 deaths and 37 coroner reports aimed at preventing future fatalities since a major reform of services, which it says cut beds by 20 per cent, was implemented in 2013.

The campaign, which is staging a protest at the Hellesdon Hospital later this morning, is now calling for an independent inquiry into unexpected deaths.

And it says health commissioners, NHS bodies and MPs should all apologise for their roles in enabling the failures to continue.

The statement added: "It is not enough for the report to be published or for the status quo to continue.

"The accountability for the failure of the trust lies with NHSE&I, NSFT and the Department for Health and Social Care.

"We need to know what actions the Department for Health and Social Care is going to take, what accountability there will be for those who have maintained the irresponsible and inaccurate narrative that the trust is improving but, more importantly, when and how the people of Norfolk and Suffolk will get a mental health service that is fit for purpose.

"Too many people have died while NSFT have been in ‘special measures’.

"Too many people are desperate for help for themselves or a loved one. People in mental distress and exhausted carers have been robbed of hope.

"This cannot be allowed to continue and NHS England and Improvement cannot be allowed to just continue doing what they have before because it has not worked and it is not good enough.

"We need a complete change of culture and the proposed changes need to be co-produced with patients, service users, staff and carers."

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