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Diss Town Councillor Stuart Warren criticises Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust for lack of mental health support

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A man, who attempted to take his own life, has criticised the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) after claiming that it failed to offer him any mental health support.

Stuart Warren said he had requested that the trust’s psychiatric liaison team visit him while he spent almost three days in West Suffolk Hospital following an overdose in late March.

“I had gone through a bit of a blip with my mental health,” said the father-of-three, who lives in Diss, south Norfolk.

Diss Town Councillor Stuart Warren condemned the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Trust for failing to provide him with any mental health support. Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography 2022.
Diss Town Councillor Stuart Warren condemned the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Trust for failing to provide him with any mental health support. Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography 2022.

“I took an overdose and ended up in hospital. For two days, I was sat there on my own. I was given no medicine.

“I was in a bad way. I was only seen by nurses. I kept asking when I would be seen by the mental health team, but all they could say is ‘we have referred you’.”

Having been taken to hospital on March 22, he spent two days there before eventually discharging himself on the morning of March 24, having grown frustrated at waiting for somebody to see him.

“If someone has shown suicidal intent, the relevant bodies need to see if they are going to do it again,” added Mr Warren, a Diss town councillor.

“It was appalling. Because I asked, they said they would see me within 24 hours.

“But when you’re ill, they don’t come – they don’t seem to get that my crisis was that day.”

The trust has maintained that it had urged Mr Warren to remain in hospital and that he was next in line to be seen by the support team and that it is usual for someone to be medically treated prior to a mental health assessment unless a specific request is made at an earlier stage.

They claimed that their Psychiatric Liaison Team had contacted Mr Warren’s community care team to ensure he was supported after leaving the hospital.

Mark Pattison, NSFT service director for west Suffolk said: “I am sorry to hear that Mr Warren feels that he did not receive the support he needed.

“Our psychiatric liaison teams provide support to patients in emergency departments and on wards. Where referrals are received from hospital wards, the team are asked to respond within 24 hours.

"In this case Mr Warren left the hospital before he could be seen by the team.”

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) visited the NSFT last winter to assess whether improvements it had previously identified had been made – and in response to concerns about the quality of its care and patient safety.

It has been rated as inadequate on three occasions and remains in special measures.

Although the latest inspection found some areas where people received better care compared to the previous inspection, there were more areas where deterioration in quality and safety were identified, according to inspectors.

In some cases, health inspectors felt this “exposed patients to risk of harm” and considered taking urgent enforcement action while the inspection was under way.

However, they were assured this was not necessary after their concerns prompted the trust to close two wards to admissions, take other immediate remedial action and continue with a decision not to admit patients to further wards.

Following the inspection, the CQC’s overall rating of the trust dropped from requires improvement to inadequate. The report also rated the trust inadequate for being safe, effective and well-led.