Suffolk NHS commissioning group surveys mental health care

Exterior view of Hellesdon Hospital Image copyright Andy Parrett/Geograph
Image caption The Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust is based at Hellesdon Hospital on the outskirts of Norwich

A draft report into NHS mental health care in Suffolk has revealed the system is failing those in most need.

The clinical commissioning groups which help fund services surveyed patients and found some were struggling to get help even when they were in crisis.

Access to support was a lottery as many people were told they did not fit fixed criteria, the report said.

Norfolk & Suffolk Foundation NHS Trust, which runs mental health services, said it was dealing with rising demand.

Suffolk's NHS clinical commissioning groups compiled the Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing Strategy report with the aim of setting priorities.

Statistics for Suffolk revealed:

  • 49,300 people with depression
  • 48,000 with "common mental disorders"
  • 84,000 over the age of 16 with suspected personality disorders
  • an average of 83 new cases of psychosis per year
Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Increasing numbers of young women are self-harming in Suffolk

Some of those questioned said their GP was unable to provide them with access to further services, they received no support in a crisis and no support was available in their locality.

The report said: "The system in Suffolk is failing.

"Increasing numbers of young people - especially women - are self-harming... we have a growing elderly population living with dementia.

"Suffolk as a whole is becoming more deprived, with growing incidence of associated mental health challenges."

The Norfolk & Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) is rated inadequate by the Care Quality Commission which the report said "creates challenges for recruiting and retaining our mental health workforce".

Peter Devlin, NSFT's director of operations, responded with a statement which said the report would be discussed separately next week by the Ipswich & East Suffolk CCG and the West Suffolk CCG.

"Demand for mental health services has been rising," he said.

"There is more awareness around mental health issues than ever before.

"The stigma attached to mental health, while still there, has reduced which is another reason why more people are willing to seek help."

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