Mental health services bearing the brunt of NHS cuts

Amicus say they have evidence that Mental Health services are being targeted for job and service cuts.

According to a new Amicus survey, nearly three quarters of Mental Health Trusts and Services in England (71%) are in deficit. As a result, 56% are planning cuts to services and more than two in five (43%) are proposing job cuts.  

The survey of Amicus shop stewards and members working in Mental Health Trusts and Services demonstrates a reduction in mental health provision with a high number of service and job cuts either already happening or planned.

The survey reported frozen posts in 49% of Trusts with financial pressures being cited as the reason in 90% of these cases. Cuts include closures of an eating disorder service, children's in-patient service, an adolescent service and acute wards. They also reported reductions and lost posts in child psychology community teams, day hospitals older person's services and substance abuse programmes.

Amicus' National Officer for Health, Kevin Coyne, said: "These cuts are evidence that mental health services are being targeted by the financial pressures on the NHS.

"We believe that mental health services are being treated as 'soft targets' for cuts by cash-strapped Trusts because of the stigma attached to mental health.

"The level of uncertainty and a lack of developmental training for specialist staff is damaging specialist staff morale and putting critical mental health services, victims, and potentially members of the public in jeopardy.

"This runs counter to all the government's stated aims to focus on mental well-being and it cannot continue to ignore the fact that we are seeing a decline in the provision of mental health services."
 
Amicus say the cuts will place remaining services under greater strain and will be hugely detrimental to some of the most vulnerable people in society, increasing levels of social exclusion for people with mental health difficulties.

Survey respondents also said that a number of Trusts breaking even were planning mental health job cuts in anticipation of potential overspends in the next financial year. – Ends –

Please call Catherine Bithell in the Amicus press office for further information on 020 7 420 8909 or 07958 473 224

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