Norman Lamb MP has demanded a meeting with key local bodies to discuss serious failings in mental health crisis care in Norfolk, including the unlawful detention of people, following their failure to act when he first raised the issue in early 2018.
Mr Lamb, the Liberal Democrat MP for North Norfolk, learnt in a Freedom of Information request in January 2018 that several people in Norfolk had been unlawfully detained in police stations for more than 40 hours while waiting for a mental health assessment or transfer to hospital.
He also found that police vehicles were regularly being used to transport patients to hospital due to ambulance delays as well as the use of police officers to supervise people in hospital for extended periods of time.
Mr Lamb requested a meeting with Norfolk Constabulary, Norfolk County Council, East of England Ambulance Service, Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust and North Norfolk CCG to discuss these concerns in January.
The relevant authorities assured him that they were meeting separately to explore his concerns, and that work had been coordinated by Julie Cave, then NSFT Chief Executive, "in order to understand what action needs to be taken to better understand and resolve the current situation."
Mr Lamb has now been given information to suggest that, in effect, nothing has changed and that the situation remains as challenging as ever with individuals constantly being failed by the system.
Mr Lamb said: “I understand that individuals continue to be detained unlawfully in police stations. I understand that the police continue to have to convey people to hospital in the absence of an ambulance and I understand that police officers continue to be used to supervise people in hospital for extended periods of time.
“This is an intolerable situation and I am really concerned that the assurances that I had been given that solutions would be found have not been met. These very serious system failures need to be addressed as a matter of urgency and I hope that the key parties will now meet with me to get to the bottom of this.”
Copies of Normans letters from January and December can be downloaded below (pdf files)