Welcome to Suffolk User Forum

  Providing feedback to inform, shape and improve services.  Active across the whole of Suffolk.  

SUF Ipswich office :  Unit 3a, Grange Business Centre, Tommy Flowers Drive, Kesgrave,  Ipswich IP5 2BY  

 Telephone 01473 329307- from 23/11/15 a new number 01473 633733

  Email us directly at: hello@suffolkuserforum.co.uk or through our Contact Us page


*******  SUF telephone number change - please note that our office telephone number will change from Monday 23rd November to a

new number 01473 633733.    

Apologies for any inconvenience - if you have difficulties reaching us by phone please email Jayne@suffolkuserforum.co.uk   ******


Mental health services in Suffolk: An update on joint work between

Healthwatch Suffolk and Suffolk User Forum

We were pleased that almost 50 service users, carers and professionals attended the joint Healthwatch Suffolk and Suffolk User Forum “Stepping Forward” event this week (18th November 2015) to listen to some early findings from our joint survey and take part in workshops to share views on how mental health care could be improved in Suffolk.

The day began with brief information about Suffolk User Forum and Healthwatch Suffolk and our shared goal to improve mental health services in Suffolk by ensuring the voice of service users, their families and carers is heard and acted upon. This was followed by a presentation to highlight initial findings from our ongoing joint survey that were used to determine the topics for a number of workshops at the event.

It is important to note that the final report has not yet been produced. As with all of our previous publications, we are committed to transparency and making the final report available with all data included as soon as possible. We are aiming to release the report in early 2016 at which point it will be shared with the Trust and discussed at a senior management level.

There is still time to have your say:


The survey will close at noon on 4th December 2015. Please click here to take part.

Early findings shared at the event indicate the following:

Qualitative feedback in the survey so far highlights that many have positive experiences of care provided but there is acknowledgement that the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) is in financial distress and that this has led to a poor continuity of care for some service users and their families.

Overall, the feedback is comparable to current national debate regarding mental health services. Service users acknowledge that Trust staff always endeavour to give service users the best possible care. However, respondents also feel the Trust is under resourced and over worked, which leads to gaps in the provision of services. In some cases respondents reported feeling ignored by the Trust.

The juxtaposition of the Trust as a positive care giver but also one that is struggling to deliver continuity of care is evidenced by two service users. One wrote ‘since I have a mental health problem everybody I have been in contact with have been excellent. Please keep this excellent team together’, while another said ‘it is obvious that staff are becoming more and more stressed as the standard of care has got a lot worse the longer I have been in the service’.

Other results of note include:

  • A majority of people who had been referred to NSFT did not receive their first contact from the Trust for over one month.
  • Over 1 in 3 respondents considered that they did not have a care plan in place.
  • 44% said that they would have liked family or friends involved in reviews of their care but they were not.
  • Over half of our respondents were not told about medication side effects during appointments.
  • Half of the respondents did not think they had a discharge plan.

The “Stepping Forward” event consisted of four workshops in which people shared their experiences of the following:

  • Referral and access to assessment
  • Care planning
  • Care reviews
  • Discharge planning

The findings from the event will be incorporated into the final report.

Priorities identified at the event and from the findings of the survey will be reported to commissioners and to senior NSFT staff. We are confident that the views recorded will be heard and used to improve services for people in Suffolk.

The Trust has committed to open and transparent dialogue with Healthwatch Suffolk and Suffolk User Forum at a senior level to explore all of the issues raised both in terms of practical improvements and to increase staff awareness of the perspectives of service users.

We would like to reiterate our thanks to every person that attended the event this week to make it such a success and to help us achieve our joint aim of making services better for everyone that needs them.

Healthwatch Suffolk

                                      SUF Annual General Meeting 20th October at the John Peel Centre                                                                               for Creative Arts in Stowmarket

The AGM had excellent speakers including Sam Brook, left and Stephen Russell, photo centre, also known as the Barefoot Doctor. More information and photos on our events page.

   Celebrating 15 years of the Human Rights Act

The Great SUF "Cake Off" was held on the 7th October at our offices in Kesgrave, Ipswich to celebrate this anniversary. We had the wonderful local star baker, Janette of Beautiful Bakes show us icing of cup cakes, and then down to really interesting and wide conversations with the group. Thank you to everyone who came along, more photos can be found on our events page.


  SUF newsletter October/November 2015 out now - download here or contact us for a paper copy

Human Rights Insert - Section 2 and Section 3 - download here or contact us for a paper copy

Mental Health Awareness Workshops

                Suffolk User Forum have developed workshops that can be delivered in your workplace,                                       for your staff and managers.

These workshops introduce the benefits of maintaining a mentally healthy workplace. They look at the steps anyone can take to look out for others at work and a short DVD is shown to provide examples of early warning signs. The focus of the workshop is discussion around the knowledge of mental ill health already existing with staff and how these “Hidden Talents” can be used to benefit the whole company.

see our workplace wellbeing page for more information

1 in 6 employees are currently experiencing mental ill health which, every year, costs British businesses in terms of lost production over £1000 per employee. 

View a 4 minute long presentation film here

 In business mental health is everyone's business

Suffolk User Forum (SUF) is a user led mental health Charity.
This means that all of our trustees, staff and volunteers have lived experience of mental ill health. This matters to us because we have a genuine understanding of living with or caring for people with mental ill health.
We are dedicated to speaking out for the mental health & wellbeing of service users in Suffolk when they need help to do so. SUF covers the whole range of services from wellbeing to support; from GP led care and treatment through to voluntary and statutory sector services including in-patient care.

To find out more about SUF and our key priorities for 2015-2017 please follow

this link to our About Us page.



Connecting people with the experience of mental illness

to support a stronger user voice. Tel 01473 329307