Mental health services are in the forefront of cuts to NHS staff

Published on Thursday, 24 February 2011 16:38
Posted by Scott Buckler

The coalition has been accused of ‘playing fast-and-loose’ with the truth by Unite in attempting to deny the scale of cuts to mental health services


Unite, which embraces the Mental Health Nurses Association (MHNA), rejected ‘totally and absolutely’ the Department of Health’s (DH) claim that unions were scare-mongering about the scale of the cuts.

This follows the expose by the False Economy website which said that confirmed and planned job cuts across the NHS stood at 53,000.

Channel 4 News reported that some of the deepest cuts will hit some of the most vulnerable people – in mental health services. In total, 6,346 jobs could be at risk across the 53 mental health trusts, with a high proportion of the jobs on the clinical, rather than management, side.

Unite professional officer, Dave Munday, said today (Thursday 24 February): ”Our members and officials have given first hand accounts to DH officials, MPs and ministers of cases of health trusts across England that are cutting frontline nurses’ posts now.

”It is irrelevant to people with serious mental health problems whether the nurses who support them are retiring, taking a career break or are being sacked. It still means less care when we know that due to the government’s imposed austerity measures, mental health problems are set to rise.

”Mental health services are seen as a ‘soft target’ because often people using these services either can’t or daren’t speak up for themselves.”

Dave Munday added: ”The coalition’s promise that the NHS was safe in its hands is simply not true. Ministers are playing fast-and-loose with the truth. Unite totally rejects the DH’s assertion that the unions are scare-mongering.”

Earlier this month, Unite/MHNA criticised plans by health secretary, Andrew Lansley, to scrap research into mental health as being ‘a very short sighted and ill-advised move’.

Source: ©UNITE

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