NHS pressures not just on A&E writes CPFT Chief Executive

Aidan Thomas says services are under strain but staff will lead the way through tough times

NHS pressures not just on A&E writes CPFT Chief Executive
20 January 2015

NHS pressure not just on A&E says Aidan Thomas, Chief Executive of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust

No one could have failed to notice the problems facing the NHS over recent weeks.

Much of the focus has been on the issues facing Accident and Emergency departments, and that’s understandable because it is the first port of call for people with urgent problems.

Our organisation, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust, provides mental health, and specialist learning disability services across the whole area, and children’s community services in Peterborough.

And while I’d like to report that we’re unaffected by similar issues to those facing our acute care partners, I’m afraid I can’t.
The reality is we’re under severe pressure as well. At the same time as there has been a reported rise in numbers of people going to A & E, in recent months, we’ve seen more and more people requiring our services.

When I tell this to the different groups I meet, I am always asked why there has been such a rise.

I can understand the need for people to want a single cause, but again - just like the increased numbers of people visiting A & E – it’s not that simple.

Broadly, though, we know that at times of ongoing economic and social problems, more people will experience mental illness.

It is at this point I must pay tribute to our staff. Their resilience, hard work, and ability to keep CPFT’s core value of putting patients first, while under severe pressure – and against the backdrop of reduced funding – needs to be applauded.

While we deal with the here and now, and we – and other NHS organisations – will get through this, we are also preparing for the future.

We continue to work with our commissioners, who fund our services, and collaborate with other providers and local authority partners to ensure the people who need our help find it easier to navigate the local care system.

We have received funding to improve our psychological services – the likes of counselling, individual and group therapy, and self help – and we hope people will soon be able to refer themselves directly to our service rather than only doing so through their GP.

Our children’s services teams are working to give families and carers the skills so that children, often in deprived communities, get the best possible chance and opportunity in life.

Also at CPFT, we also have a Recovery College for people to gain resilience and independence while understanding their own mental health challenges. The Recovery College helps people to take control of their conditions and regain control of their lives.

It’s not unlike the work going on in the NHS across the country. Where there are pressures, we’ll use our resilience to work through them, and continue to move forward.

This column first appeared in the Cambridge News on Monday, 19 January, 2015.


For more information please contact:

Andy Burrows
Communications Manager
E andy.burrows@cpft.nhs.uk
T 01223 726767

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust
Elizabeth House, Fulbourn Hospital
Cambridge, CB21 5EF

T 01223 219400 (open 8:30am to 5pm)
F 01480 398501

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