Image caption One teenager, right, said she was "heartbroken" to receive the letter ending her treatment

Hundreds of vulnerable young people were told they would be cut from a mental health waiting list because of coronavirus pressures.

Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust, which is in special measures, said to 326 service users it could not "support everybody in the ways that it used to".

The letter's recipients included several people who posed a high risk to themselves or others, the trust said.

It apologised and blamed "human error".

The letters were sent as the Care Quality Commission published a report into the trust's handling of young people, which criticised its management of waiting lists.

Image caption The letter told their referral to the young people's service would be closed

The letter said young people's service had had to make "big changes since the coronavirus has been around", adding: "We can't offer you any further appointments at this time and we will be closing your referral to the service."

Instead, it offered a one-off phone call to discuss how people could help themselves.

One service user in Norfolk, who was on the waiting list for more than a year, said she was "heartbroken" by the letter.

"I was beside myself. I felt the lowest of all lows," said the 19-year-old, who in the past two years has tried to take her own life three times.

"You get promised help and [then] they take it away. It really upset me," she said.

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Chief nurse Diane Hull said the letter "should not have been sent".

"We are truly sorry for the distress this caused. We are contacting each of those young people and their families to make sure they get the support they need," she said.

In January the trust moved from an "inadequate" rating to "requires improvement" but remained in special measures.

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