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Trust to provide extra mental health support at Norfolk hospitals

More than £500,000 pounds has been pumped into mental health services for patients at two Norfolk hospitals.

The funding, agreed by local NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), will pay for more doctors and nurses at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT). 

The new staff will be based at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn. It means patients with mental health issues who are taken to either hospital are more likely to receive specialist care, which can help them return safely home sooner.

Dr Duncan Edwards, from NHS South Norfolk CCG, said: “Our strategy is to ensure good care for people presenting with acute mental health problems wherever in Norfolk that is.

“We strongly support the mental health trust’s plan to use this extra staffing in hospitals to free up mental health crisis team nurses to support more people in their own homes before they need to go to the emergency department.”

Michael Scott, Chief Executive at NSFT, said: “These investments made by the CCGs are very welcome and offer really positive benefits for patients with mental health needs and a significant step forward in ensuring mental health is seen as an important priority equal to that of physical health.
“The benefits are that patients get a more integrated service, our teams can provide extended support to acute hospitals, and it frees up capacity in our Crisis Resolution Home Treatment services in particular which had been responding to out-of-hours requests from acute hospitals.”

At the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King’s Lynn, £365,000 from NHS West Norfolk CCG is being invested to provide a dedicated psychiatric liaison service for patients. The service has recruited a doctor and five mental health practitioners.

This investment has led to improvements in patient care and has helped both trusts to better address the needs of patients whilst at the same time avoiding unnecessary admissions into acute hospital or mental health beds.

Claire Roberts, Associate Director of Patient Experience, said: "The Queen Elizabeth Hospital has welcomed the additional investment as it has supported improvements in patient care both in the Emergency Department and on the wards.

"The additional capacity has strengthened the provision of timely assessment and treatment of patients with mental health needs and has improved access to consultant psychiatric advice for clinical staff caring for patients within the hospital."

NSFT is currently recruiting four mental health nurses for the psychiatric liaison team at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. These will be joined by an additional Consultant Psychiatrist over winter.

Chris Cobb, Director of Medicine and Emergency Services at the hospital, said: “We welcome this investment which we hope will provide timely specialist care to this very vulnerable group of patients."