Our feedback to NSFT governors’ for their 2021/22 Annual Plan

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) Governors’ have been holding online events to listen to Trust members’ views on how NSFT can continue to improve its services. This feedback will inform the NSFT governors’ 2021/22 annual plan.

We have provided feedback to NSFT governors’ including your comments and feedback that you have shared with us.

If you have not commented yet and would like share your views and feedback with SUF, for NSFT Governors, please use our online feedback form https://www.suffolkuserforum.co.uk/your-feedback/ or call us on 01473 907087 (Monday to Thursday 9.30-2.30pm).

We have told NSFT Governors;

LISTEN, Language and learning are the overarching messages from service users and family carers

The top priority for service users and family carers is a consistent and reliable response that follows the agreed LISTEN approach. NSFT re-launched the co-produced LISTEN model and aide memoire for staff in October 2019. 

Listen and look

Involve and inform

Share understanding

Time and availability

Empathise, encourage, and evaluate

Next steps in treatment


Service users and family carers say that some staff fully grasp this approach and show very good social skills. They are empathetic, patient, and communicate clearly. They know how to talk to someone in distress. This shows that it can be done. There are some excellent staff. But it should not be a matter of luck in finding one of those staff.

When service users are let down it is almost always because staff have not followed the LISTEN approach. So, there is no need to create new initiatives when the priority must be to really align NSFT’s attitudes and behaviour with what has already been agreed. We would like to know,

  • How is NSFT embedding LISTEN into its day-to-day work and into staff appraisals? Posters are not enough.
  • How does NSFT assure itself that its commitment to LISTEN is sincerely at the heart of its services? What does NSFT measure?

Service users also want:

Suicide prevention: for all partners to work together for suicide prevention. To be the change and support us to Change the Language Save a Life Suicide is Not a Choice.

Coproduction: for all staff and particularly senior managers to value service user involvement and to follow up on their promises.

When even the most basic undertakings, such as to convene the Working Together Groups are endlessly postponed it indicates a low priority. It sends a strong message that service user views do not matter. It is important that there is evidence of a strong commitment to user involvement within NSFT, with People Participation Leads empowered with sufficient support and resources, to guard against it being lip service.

Learning: service users and family carers are concerned that there remains a need for NSFT to be an effective learning organisation. This includes the need for NSFT to ensure that it learns from incidents and near misses, to ensure patient safety and the effective management of risk.

Service users and family carers also have set out the hallmarks of the good mental health service they want NSFT to deliver:

Being related to as an individual

  • Being listened to in a kind and compassionate way.
  • Being seen as a whole person, so that all of my needs and preferences are understood.
  • Knowing that staff are culturally aware and non-judgmental.
  • Knowing that the people who care for me have their needs as carers addressed too.
  • Being supported in setting and achieving my own goals so that I can live the life I want and to the best of my ability.
  • Being able to talk to the right person at the right time.
  • Being contacted proactively so that I know what is happening and know that I am not forgotten.

Crisis support and discharge

  • Being truly involved in my care plan and recovery journey,
  • Being fully involved in the planning for my discharge from services. Being able to trust there will be no surprises.
  • Having the information I need about my medication and trusting that medication reviews will take into account my views and my individual situation.
  • Never being told that you’re at the ‘wrong door’ when in a crisis.
  • Having a clear crisis plan that I can use when I need and knowing that the response from my care coordinator, First Response Service or psychiatric liaison will follow the LISTEN principles.
  • Being confident that teams and settings will communicate well between each other.
  • Knowing that services do not assume that everyone can use digital technologies.

Service improvement

  • Knowing that if I make a complaint, I will not get a defensive response, but that staff will try to solve the issue straight away and learn from it too.
  • Being able to trust that the new mental health models will be delivered and make a difference. #AVeryDifferentConversation must deliver on its promises.
  • To know and trust that the new Personality Disorder Strategy and model ensures people do receive the care and support they need.