Bereaved families, representing a campaign group, have expressed their disappointment and frustration with the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) for losing track of patient death figures. The group, who had been collaborating with NSFT and the Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care Board (NWICB) on an improvement plan, announced during a council meeting that they no longer wished to work with either organization. They cited the disregard shown by senior officers and the lack of intention to address their findings as reasons for their decision.
Caroline Aldridge, a member of the campaign group who tragically lost her son while waiting for mental health care, voiced her concerns regarding the negligence of NSFT and NWICB. The campaigners had expected the organizations to update an improvement action plan following a review that exposed a lack of knowledge about avoidable patient deaths. However, they felt that their concerns were being ignored and their voices were not being heard.
In response to the campaigners’ statement, NWICB expressed their desire to continue collaborating with them, despite needing some time to reflect on the situation. NSFT admitted during the meeting that they had not yet finalized plans for improvement, which further frustrated the committee. West Norfolk councillor Pallavi Devulapalli expressed her disappointment, feeling that the committee was being shown contempt.
NSFT representative Gary O’Hare acknowledged the absence of a timeline for the plan but assured the committee that updates on the action plan and improvements would be provided in the coming months. NWICB’s Tricia D’Orsi emphasized that their intention was not to show contempt but to address the issues correctly. However, the committee, in light of the situation, announced their intention to send a letter to the secretary of state within a week. They urged for a statutory inquiry into mental health deaths in Norfolk, highlighting the urgency and seriousness of the matter.
The campaign group’s decision to sever ties with NSFT and NWICB comes as a blow to the organizations, as they had previously committed to working with bereaved families to improve the quality of mental health care. The loss of patient death figures and the apparent disregard for the concerns of the campaigners have raised significant doubts about the effectiveness and transparency of the organizations’ actions. The committee’s decision to request a statutory inquiry reflects the gravity of the situation and the need for a comprehensive investigation into mental health deaths in Norfolk.
As the situation unfolds, both NSFT and NWICB will need to reassess their approach and demonstrate a genuine commitment to addressing the concerns raised by the campaign group. The bereaved families have made it clear that they will not tolerate being ignored or disregarded, and it is crucial for the organizations to regain their trust by taking swift and tangible actions towards improving patient safety and accountability. Only by working together transparently and effectively can they hope to restore confidence in the mental health care system and prevent further avoidable deaths.