The message is clear and members of the public, Unison members and members of MUN turned out on Valentines Day asking those who Love Manchester to tell Manchester City Councillors not to implement cuts to Manchester Mental Health Services already cut to the marrow as Manchester City Councillor Paul Andrews (Bagley) recently said: “These cuts are already down to the marrow.” MUN’s Chair Paul Reed in response said: ” This mean further killer cuts will mean the loss of lives and that’s something Manchester User’s Network is not prepared to allow, if this Council implements these killer cuts MUN would seek legal action against Manchester City Council.”
Those of us who have been campaigning over the last few years to save public services from government cuts and austerity have been known to say, only half jokingly, that when the Tories are done, there will be “nothing left”. But this isn’t true. Tory austerity measures are a full on ideological assault. Their economic policy masks a concerted attempt to demonise the poorest and encourage people to think that the unemployed, the ill, the disabled, immigrants, asylum seekers and the old aren’t “deserving”. Thus the future is not one without public services. It is one where minimal services are delivered, by privatised corporations, to those who are deemed worthy.
Mental health services are being “starved of resources”
A mental health commission led by former health minister Paul Burstow MP, which included representatives of the NHS, charities and Royal College of Psychiatrists, found mental health is underfunded by about 10% or £10bn.
The head of Unison has urged NHS staff to ‘keep on fighting’ after six different unions in Manchester took part in the first nationwide health service walkout for 32 years.
The strike was triggered by the coalition government’s decision to refuse NHS staff the 1% pay rise recommended by an independent pay review body and sparked further outrage after the proposal to award MPs a 9% pay rise earlier this year.
Children and young people’s mental health services are too few, too poor and too stressed, causing untold suffering to children and their families. There are government inquiries, reviews and a new taskforce under way to address the issues, but what would services look like if they were working well?
Young people’s mental health services would be embedded in the heart of communities. This doesn’t mean ivory towers with big signs on the front of the building saying “mental health services” (we know how mental health stigma builds walls for young people who need help), but places that are young people-friendly, informal and welcoming.
A report this week was grim reading for those involved in mental health care. The survey of GPs revealed that one in five had seen patients harmed as a result of “delays or a lack of support” from mental health services, while shortfalls had forced 82 per cent of doctors to act “outside of their competence”. While this news is shocking, it is just another example of the UK’s mental health care crisis.
Just last week, data obtained from freedom of information requests led to claims that the NHS treated mental health care as a “second-class service”. Indeed, thousands of mentally ill patients have been forced to travel “hundreds of miles” for treatment in recent years. Extreme cases have seen patients being forcibly sectioned so that they can receive care in overcrowded wards. Even medical students have resorted to asking for greater teaching on psychiatry, highlighting the derisory attention that mental health issues receive. Yet the state of mental health services is unsurprising considering that they receive only 13 per cent of the NHS budget, despite mental illness affecting around a quarter of the UK population.
The mental health intermediate care centre, which was officially announced on Monday, would manage tenant’s mental health and provide help with integrating back into society.
However, MM has learned that many of the staff who would be needed to run the centre are set to lose their jobs in April, if proposed Salford Council budget cuts take effect.
The mental health floating support service which workers are employed in will be seeing a reduction in funding of £214,000 under the council budget cuts.
Steve North, branch secretary of Salford Unison, has been involved in the proposed centre’s planning and says the announcement is a ploy by Salford Council.
“On the face of it this looks like a really positive development,” North told MM.
FURY AS SALFORD COUNCILLORS REJECT VULNERABLE ADULTS CUTS CALL IN
Star date: 24th July 2014
SALFORD PEOPLE UNANIMOUSLY IGNORED BY SCRUTINY COUNCILLORS AS £4.4MILLION CUTS GET GO AHEAD
“It’s gobsmacking and you would really question your faith in Salford City Council’s political system today” Steve North, Salford City UNISON
There was fury yesterday as six councillors sitting on Salford Council’s Budget Scrutiny Committee unanimously voted to reject a `call in’ to reconsider over £4million of cuts to services for vulnerable people in the city.