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Mental health trust sets out proposals to protect healthcare against backdrop of NHS budget demands

​Norfolk and Suffolk’s mental health trust has today been briefing staff about proposals designed to protect healthcare services over the next four years.

In line with the rest of the NHS, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust will have approximately five per cent less to spend for each of the next four years compared with today.

Medical director Dr Hadrian Ball said: “Rather than simply cut costs, our senior clinicians – that’s our doctors, psychologists, nurses and other healthcare professionals – have been leading the programme. They have spent the last few months taking a fresh look at our services and proposing new ways of delivering care which will be affordable and will deliver the same, if not better, outcomes for people with mental health problems in our two counties.”

The proposals have been drawn up by clinicians in partnership with service users, family carers, commissioners and independent and third sector providers.

The Trust’s emerging Trust Service Strategy brings together healthcare, estates, IT, research and professional strategies.

Chief executive Aidan Thomas said: “We have today started an internal consultation with our staff on our Trust Service Strategy. It is important that our staff were the first to hear of these plans because we will need them to work differently in the future as we bring in new services and become less reliant on others. We will see a reduction in the number of posts we have over the next four years, but because of careful vacancy management and natural turnover, as people leave or retire, we hope to bring this about without compulsory redundancies.”

The Service Strategy has an emphasis on wellbeing (helping people keep well and preventing ill health) and recovery (helping them back to their normal lives). There is a focus on developing more services in the community to provide alternatives to more expensive hospital care – although the Trust is committed to providing high-quality inpatient care for people who have a clinical need for this service.

Mr Thomas added: “If we reach people at an earlier stage of their illness, if we develop a robust personality disorder strategy, if we reduce multiple assessments and work effectively with social care support then we will be able to provide people with some real alternatives to hospital admission.

“We know that wherever possible our patients would prefer to be cared for at home, and that depends on having appropriate community services to support them.”

The Trust’s internal staff consultation runs from 22 October 2012 to 21 January 2013.


Notes to editors: