SALFORD MARCHES AGAINST CUTS TO MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES
Star date: 30th March 2014
TRAFFORD, BOLTON AND SALFORD JOIN TO FIGHT MENTAL HEALTH SERVICE CUTS
“The Tories are dismantling the NHS bit by bit and the only way we can protect it is to…take to the streets and campaign” UNISON steward
Dozens of people, including mental health service users, NHS workers, trade unionists and carers, marched from Eccles town centre to Meadowbrook hospital in Salford yesterday to campaign against horrific cuts to mental health services.
Campaign groups from Salford, Trafford, Bolton and beyond held a rally before the march at which speakers urged everyone to fight the ConDem Government’s dismantling of the NHS and Labour councils that comply.
Yesterday, Eccles town centre became the focal point for the campaign against mental health service cuts in Bolton, Trafford and Salford, as well over one hundred people from around the North West, led by the PCS drumming band, attended a rally and march to Defend Mental Health Services.
Greater Manchester West Mental Health Trust (GMW) is currently concluding a consultation aimed at slashing adult mental health in-patient services, axing beds and wards older people with dementia, acute anxiety and depression (see here for full details).
The march from Eccles ended at Meadowbrook Hospital, near Salford Royal Hospital, where GMW wants to close a mental health ward and relocate it, with less beds, miles away in Little Hulton. The rally heard from a woman with dementia about the horrors this will impose on her, her friends and their families.
Meanwhile, in Salford, the Council is also proposing to slash mental health services.Kevin Curran, a mental health support worker, told the rally that his whole team is about to be scrapped which “will leave over 150 mental health service users without the help they are receiving at the moment…
“We really do need to build this campaign and tell the Labour Council that these cuts are unacceptable” he added “Labour councillors all have the same answer, `What else can we do?‘ It’s a good question. Vote for somebody else who will stand up to the Tories…”
“I can tell you that NHS staff are not being replaced, staff are not being able to take breaks on wards, staffing is inadequate on wards, services are not safe” he said “Already, 80% of the contracts being given out in the NHS are going into the private sector. The Tories are dismantling the NHS bit by bit and the only way we can protect it is to roll our sleeves up, take to the streets and campaign. They are spinning it that these services aren’t affecting the vulnerable and that they are functioning just like they used to. It is not acceptable and not in our name. We have to campaign and stand firm against these horrible cuts.”
It was apt that the march and rally happened in Salford where service users themselves have been solidly campaigning for a number of years under the appropriate banner ofUSUC (United Service Users Committee) against cuts imposed by the Labour Council and GMW, which has involved occupying the Council chamber, protests outside offices, pickets and petitions.
“It’s a good turn out today and I’m really pleased that people have come together from Salford, Bolton and Trafford, and we’ve also got delegations from Stockport, Liverpool and throughout the North West” Steve Cullen from USUC told the Salford Star “One of the main reasons we’ve called this rally is because we don’t agree with the proposals that GMW have put on the table, scrapping beds and wards.
“We’re going to fight it all the way” added “And we’re not going to stop until GMW take this ridiculous, stupid proposal off the table and start doing what they are there to do – looking after and caring for people in the community.”
• This Thursday, April 3rd, at 7pm, campaigners against mental health cuts will join other groups fighting cuts in Salford for a public `No More Cuts’ public meeting at Swinton British Legion, Cheetham Road, Swinton M27 4UQ
Further details on the Facebook event page No More Cuts in Salford – Protect Services for the Most Vulnerable
Credit: The Salford Star http://www.salfordstar.com/article.asp?id=2213
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