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19 February 2015, 10:00
A mental health trust has become the first in the country to be put into special measures, the health sector regulator has said.
Urgent improvements are needed to the care patients receive at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, Monitor said.
The move comes after the Care Quality Commission gave the trust an overall rating of inadequate earlier this month after identifying a number of serious problems, including concerns about the safety of services, staffing levels and leadership.
The trust provides a wide range of health and social care services, specialising in mental health and wellbeing, according to its website.
The move means the trust will receive tailored support to address the challenges it faces.
This will include appointing an Improvement Director to provide expertise and hold the trust to account, and arranging a partnership with a high-performing trust.
Norfolk and Suffolk has agreed to put in action plans to address the care quality concerns identified by the CQC, and to ensure the Board is more accountable and effective in fixing problems.
Monitor has also imposed a new condition on Norfolk and Suffolk's licence, enabling the regulator to take further action, such as replacing members of the trust's leadership team, if the required improvements are not made swiftly for patients.
Katherine Cawley, Regional Director at Monitor, said: "Patients in Norfolk and Suffolk deserve to receive the highest possible care, and so the failings that the CQC has identified in the trust's services are disappointing.
"We are pleased that the trust has already started to address some of the issues raised by the CQC, but much more needs to be done. That's why we have put Norfolk and Suffolk into special measures, to ensure that it gets the extra help and support it needs to make the improvements that are required.
"We will continue to work closely with the trust and monitor its progress in making the improvements that patients in Norfolk and Suffolk expect to see."