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Trust chair calls for dialogue with mental health campaign group

The Chair of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust is urging a mental health campaign group to get round the table and talk.

Gary Page has asked the Campaign to Save Mental Health Services in Norfolk and Suffolk for a meeting between campaigners, himself and the vice-chair of the Board of Directors but the request has been declined.

Mr Page said: "I have asked for a meeting with the campaign..., we clearly have a shared interest in providing the best services we can for local people, but it is really unfortunate that campaign group has said they don't have time to meet with us.

"There are very real financial pressures across the entire NHS and mental health services face particular pressures on funding. We'd like to see a more level playing field for the funding of mental health services and I'm sure we and the campaign have a shared agenda to discuss."

The call for dialogue came at a public meeting of the Board of Governors in Norwich. The meeting also heard that the Trust was also making good progress of recruiting to vacancies, with 269 of 412 vacancies expected to be filled in the next three months. Overseas recruitment has been ruled out.

Mr Page added there was a danger that the campaign would have an impact on public confidence in the service, deterring people from trying to access mental health services, as well as knocking staff morale.

"I have said publicly that we have made mistakes. As a Trust we acknowledge that. There are things that we got wrong but the important thing is putting right those mistakes and doing the best job we can for our patients and staff. Working together is the best way to do that."

Governors of the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust did meet the campaign group on April 16 but the campaign group has yet to meet the directors or non-executive directors.‚Äč