Norfolk and Suffolk mental health trust plans £36m savings

Mental health ward at Hellesdon Hospital
Image caption The Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust has a number of mental health wards across the counties

The NHS trust providing mental health services in Norfolk and Suffolk is to make savings of £36m over four years.

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust agreed to balance its books after a critical report by NHS watchdog Monitor.

The trust was put in special measures over a predicted deficit of £9.4m for the year 2015/16.

Chief executive Michael Scott said savings would be made while maintaining the quality of patient services.

Image caption Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust's chief executive Michael Scott said cuts should proceed in a manner that does not threaten quality of patient services

The trust breached its licence by predicting the £9.4m deficit and not having an adequate recovery plan.

Enforcement action by Monitor since February included special measures to improve patient services.

'Cinderella of the NHS'

An improvement director was appointed and the trust was partnered with Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

Laura Mills from Monitor said: "These steps should enable the trust to balance its books and ensure patients are able to receive quality services."

Mr Scott called the trust's plan "robust" and said £44m of savings had already been achieved over the past four years.

"The focus for us is not only on balancing the books; it is on balancing cost savings against maintaining safe and high quality services.

"We are doing this over a longer period to protect our staff and our service users from further cuts."

The trust has spent £2.6m recruiting more staff for inpatient units and £950,000 for additional community workers.

"We do all of this in the face of chronic under-funding of mental health services, and these life-saving services remain the 'Cinderella' of the NHS.

"We are determined to continue to campaign for increased funding," he said.

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