Friday, September 08, 2006

Mentally ill march to save community care

This news just in from Health Emergency:

What: Demonstration and march with banners and props

Where: Kennington Park (Oval) SE11 to Windrush Square, Brixton, SW2

Who: Users of psychiatric services in Lambeth & Southwark

Why: To protest against plans to axe £millions from mental health services

When: Meet Kennington Park (Camberwell New Road entrance)

1.30-2.00pm Saturday 9 September 2006

1.45 – photo opportunity with drums and banners

Psychiatric service users across Lambeth and Southwark are uniting against plans to axe vital mental health services. Lambeth Primary Care Trust and Southwark Primary Care Trust have announced that they intend to “disinvest” a total of £6million in the current financial year with a further £2million scheduled for 2007-2008.

Resources under threat range from specialist services for older people and children, to nursing homes and crisis services. Proposals to close the renowned Emergency Clinic at the Maudsley Hospital are so controversial they have been referred to the Secretary of State by the Joint Health Scrutiny Committee of Lambeth and Southwark Councils. (1)

Lambeth and Southwark are both areas with higher than average levels of mental illness (2) and campaigners fear that local services will not be able to cope if funding cuts go ahead. “We are terrified that these cuts will damage some of the most vulnerable people in our community for whom mental health services can mean the difference between life and death” says Mary Roberts, Chair of Lambeth Mental Health and Disabled People’s Action Group (3).

“The government claims that mental health services are a funding priority but this is obviously not the case in Southwark and Lambeth” says Teresa Priest, Co-ordinator of Southwark Mind. “This is short sighted penny pinching which will cost lives”.

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