There is no money – and now there are no beds! Mental Health is a jungle…

Nikki Fox for BBC East reports 7th September 2015: Norfolk and Suffolk NHS trust told ‘no mental health beds available’

Thee outcome of rationing by underinvestment and deliberate undercapacity for 20 years… Just be thankful if you don’t have a relative reliant on the “jungle” of mental health care..

An NHS trust was told there were no mental health beds available across England, its medical director has said.

Dr Bohdan Solomka told the BBC on Sunday the lack of beds applied across the NHS and among private providers.

The Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust medical director’s revelation prompted Norwich MP Clive Lewis to call for delays in planned bed closures.

NHS England said it was up to local NHS commissioners to ensure patients got the care they needed.

Dr Solomka confirmed that up to Sunday night “there were no adult acute inpatient beds in England available to us either from NHS or private providers”.

‘National disgrace’

In response Mr Lewis, Norwich South MP, called for a suspension of planned bed closures in Norfolk and Suffolk until community services were able to cope with current levels of demand.

He has also asked for an urgent review into the support given to the trust from NHS England and the area’s clinical commissioning groups which fund the beds.

“It’s a national disgrace that there are no mental health beds for those who need them,” Mr Lewis said.

“It is simply unimaginable that in the event of a heart attack someone would be left with no A&E bed available anywhere in the country. Why is this accepted for those with a mental rather than physical health crisis?”….

….’Bed crisis worsening’

… Terry Skyrme, of the Campaign to Save Mental Health Services in Norfolk and Suffolk, said the shortage was down to underinvestment.

“The Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Trust is still closing beds, such as at Carlton Court near Lowestoft, despite NSFT always having patients out of area and after being told by the CQC and Monitor that there must be sufficient local beds for local needs.

“We are being told by mental health professionals that the bed crisis is worsening and spreading nationwide. For how long can commissioners and NHS England cover their eyes and pretend there is no crisis in mental health provision?”

NHS England said people with mental health needs deserved the same level of care as those with physical health needs.

“Local NHS commissioners, providers and the local authority need to continue to work together to ensure all patients needing help for their mental health get the care and support they need,” a spokesman said.

The lead commissioners for mental health in Norfolk, South Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group, were unavailable for comment.

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This entry was posted in A Personal View, Commissioning, NHS managers, Rationing, Stories in the Media, Trust Board Directors on by .

About Roger Burns - retired GP

I am a retired GP and medical educator. I have supported patient participation throughout my career, and my practice, St Thomas; Surgery, has had a longstanding and active Patient Participation Group (PPG). I support the idea of Community Health Councils, although I feel they should be funded at arms length from government. I have taught GP trainees for 30 years, and been a Programme Director for GP training in Pembrokeshire 20 years. I served on the Pembrokeshire LHG and LHB for a total of 10 years. I completed an MBA in 1996, and I along with most others, never had an exit interview from any job in the NHS! I completed an MBA in 1996, and was a runner up for the Adam Smith prize for economy and efficiency in government in that year. This was owing to a suggestion (St Thomas' Mutual) that practices had incentives for saving by being allowed to buy rationed out services in the following year.

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