Written evidence submitted by Campaign to Save Mental Health Services in Norfolk and Suffolk [ASC 038]
During COVID services in Norfolk and Suffolk have almost completely collapsed. Third sector support was suspended and support from NSFT (MH Trust in special measures for third time) was spasmodic and unreliable. Eventually there has been some virtual support. Many people with Severe Mental Illness (SMI) find online meetings difficult and professionals cannot tell if the service user’s fridge and cupboards are well stocked, their home in its usual standard of cleanliness or the person’s level of self-care from a virtual meeting. Many people receive care under Section 117 of the Mental Health Act and are not getting their entitlement.
Many people with SMI have above average intelligence. Social care support is essential to enable people with SMI to live their life to their full potential. This could be encouragement to perform daily tasks or accompanying the person on a visit of their choice, eg: visiting a nearby seaside town, a park or an art gallery.
Social care support should be funded alongside NHS care, as they are intrinsically linked, funded by central Government. This applies to all adults with additional needs and the elderly. Local Government may provide the care but they should not be responsible for funding it because this creates huge disparities between areas.
The private sector has far too much influence in providing social care and we regularly see residential ‘hospitals’ for learning difficulties, autism and mental health closed by CQC as they are providing inadequate, and, in some case, dangerous and abusive, care. This is not acceptable in the twenty first century in the UK.
Adult social care needs to be funded by central Government and delivered by local authorities.