‘It boiled my blood’: Trust ‘too busy’ to bring mentally ill patient home

Kathleen Cantell, 73, was transferred to a hospital in Darlington after a stint at a Cromer care hom

Kathleen Cantell, 73, was transferred to a hospital in Darlington after a stint at a Cromer care home did not work out. Photo: Submitted - Credit: Archant

The daughter of a patient transferred 240 miles for care has hit out at the region’s mental health service after it said a “very busy weekend” derailed plans to bring her mother home.

Kay Cantell, daughter of Kathleen, says she is horrified by the way NSFT have treated her mother, wh

Kay Cantell, daughter of Kathleen, says she is horrified by the way NSFT have treated her mother, who suffers from bipolar disorder. Photo: Kay Cantell - Credit: Archant

Kay Cantell, from Great Yarmouth, said she was “absolutely disgusted” with the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT) when she discovered that 73-year-old Kathleen was not on her way back from Darlington on Monday as the family had been promised.

She said: “Mum was originally supposed to be home last Friday. When that didn’t happen, the trust’s chief medical officer Dr Dan Dalton assured me in writing she’d be back Monday instead.

“She was all ready and packed when she called me at 7.45am yesterday. You could hear the excitement in her voice. But by 4pm, I got another call saying she was still in Darlington. It boiled my blood.

“At this point, it’s not even just mum’s mental health I’m worried about. It’s the rest of us. We are all utterly exasperated with NSFT and their repeated false promises.

Dr Dan Dalton, chief medical officer at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, says there has been a big increase in new...

Dr Dan Dalton, chief medical officer at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, says there has been a big increase in new patients during the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: ANGELA SHARPE PHOTOGRAPHY - Credit: Angela Sharpe Photography

“Mum caught Covid up there for God’s sake. It’s just not on.”

In an email to Kay Cantell from Dr Dalton, seen by this newspaper, he said: “I understand your frustration and how upset you must be that we have not been able to bring your mum home.


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“We experienced a very busy weekend and were not able to follow the plan as we had hoped.”

But Ms Cantell said being “too busy” was “a ridiculous excuse”.

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She said: “I want Dan Dalton to resign over this. He has let us down.”

In response, Dan Dalton said: “I am deeply sorry for the emotional impact on patients and their families when we have to place patients out of area.

“We carefully consider every decision to place a patient out of area and review our beds daily so that we can move people back to a ward close to home as soon as we can.”

NSFT explained that the trust was facing a high demand for inpatient beds, and that it was funding 21 beds through an independent provider in Norfolk to try and keep people as close to home as possible for treatment.

There were still 42 patients in non-NSFT beds as of November 6.

MORE: Norfolk mental health patient, 73, catches Covid after being moved to DarlingtonMORE: Trust deals with ‘big increase’ in new patients during pandemic

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