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Struggling mental health trust appoints interim nursing director

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Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust has announced that it has appointed Dawn Collins as its interim director of nursing, quality and patient safety.

Ms Collins, who has been deputy director of nursing and education since joining the trust in 2015, has been appointed to the role following the resignation of Jane Sayer on Wednesday.

Ms Sayer stepped down in the wake of a critical Care Quality Commission inspection that saw the trust rated “inadequate” and returned to special measures – second time in three years.

It was first rated “inadequate” and put in special measures after an inspection in October 2014, but was judged to have made sufficient improvements to exit the regime after a follow-up visit last year.

However, during the CQC’s latest visit in July this year, inspectors found the trust had not maintained standards and significant improvements were required, and was again rated as “inadequate”.

The trust was told it must ensure action was taken to remove ligature anchor points, mitigate risks from poor lines of sight and follow national guidance on seclusion and restraint.

It was also told it must ensure sufficient numbers of staff were available “at all times to provide care to meet patients’ needs”, and that all relevant staff had completed statutory, mandatory and, where relevant, specialist training, said the CQC in its report.

“It’s a brilliant opportunity to drive forward significant improvements”

Dawn Collins

In her new position, Ms Collins will be responsible for all aspects of nursing at the trust, said the organisation in a statement.

Along with the rest of the board, she will support improvements in quality and patient safety – two key areas highlighted by the CQC in its recent inspection report, noted the trust.

Ms Collins will also become a member of the trust board, where she will help to shape the mental health provider’s direction and future strategy.

“I am delighted to have been offered this new role,” said Ms Collins, who trained as a nurse in Kings Lynn in 1986 and has worked in a variety of roles throughout her 30-year career, including senior positions in Yorkshire and at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

Struggling mental health trust appoints interim nursing director

Dawn Collins

“It’s a brilliant opportunity to drive forward significant improvements for our service users and their families and carers, and I look forward to starting that work as soon as possible,” she said.

“The CQC report has brought with it huge challenges, but also gives us a fantastic chance to drive through changes which will make a real difference to some of the most vulnerable people in our society,” said Ms Collins.

“The staff at the trust are all incredibly passionate about the care we provide and share the same goal of wanting our services to be as good as they possibly can be,” she said.

She added: “I am really looking forward to working with them to make the necessary improvements highlighted by the CQC for the benefit of everyone receiving care from NSFT.”

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