Campaigners ask police to Investigate 8,440 mental health deaths in Norfolk and Suffolk

The Campaign to Save Mental Health Services in Norfolk and Suffolk has written to the chief constables of Norfolk and Suffolk police forces to open investigations into 8,440 deaths of patients of the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT) since 2020.

Campaigners are asking the police to review cases where coroners have issued prevention of future deaths notices, and where other patients have died in similar circumstances. They are also asking the police to assess whether the threshold has been reached for charges of corporate manslaughter to be made against the senior managers and board of NSFT.

Police standing on road

Mark Harrison, chair of the campaign, said: ‘This is the biggest deaths crisis in the history of the NHS and it is happening in the NHS Foundation Trust charged with providing mental health services in Norfolk and Suffolk. The police are being asked to act because all other options to save the lives of people in mental distress have failed. We are being failed by all parts of the system that are meant to be there to protect us.’

The campaign has also written to the heads of NHS England, the Department for Health and Social Care and relevant ministers, and the Care Quality Commission demanding that they fulfil their duty of care and use their statutory powers. Campaigners are concerned that delays in disbanding NSFT and replacing it with a fully functional service are costing lives.

‘NSFT has been rated inadequate four times in the last eight years and is still in special measures,’ Harrison said. ‘The confirmation in the Grant Thornton report that 8,440 patients and service users have died whilst under the care of NSFT since 2020 should have confirmed that NSFT is institutionally dysfunctional and has to be broken up. Instead, there has been a deafening silence from the bodies who have oversight of mental health – NHS England and the Department for Health and Social Care. That is why we are also demanding an independent statutory public inquiry so that lessons can be learnt and practices changed.’

The campaign said it had also written to MPs out of frustration with their role in not taking action to stem the deaths crisis over the last ten years.

Image: King’s Church International

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Coalition calls for £1.7bn investment in children’s mental health services


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