UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Nurses Protest at NHS Mental Health Cuts

Nurses, Therapists and Doctors employed at South West London & St George's Mental Health NHS Trust will be involved in a UNISON organised lunchtime protest at Springfield Hospital, South London today to draw attention to massive cuts in NHS mental health services. The protest is timed to coincide with the Trust Board's AGM.

"We are witnessing unprecedented levels of cuts in frontline NHS Mental Health services at a time when there is a massive increase in demand for our services, said Michael Walker, UNISON Regional Officer. "These cuts in front line NHS services are deep and dangerous and seriously threaten to undermine the mental health services we provide"

"In the last year the Trust has been forced to cut the number of qualified nurses on wards and close 10 mental health wards. Many more are under treat of closure including those for "acute psychiatric" patients, as well as numerous hostels in the community."

UNISON pointed out that there is a "clear link between the number of qualified nurses and patient safety". The union fears that with community hostels closing, psychiatric patients may lose contact with the service and stop taking their medication with potentially dangerous implications.

"Many of the mental health services we provide are experiencing huge demands and as a result patients are increasingly having difficulty accessing services when they need them and we fear this could ultimately lead to tragic consequences."

"We need local politicians and NHS decision makers of all parties to get involved in defending front line services to vulnerable people in their community"

Suresh Desai UNISON Branch Secretary said, "UNISON remains committed to working with the Trust to attempt to limit the impact of cuts on patient care" but warned that this was proving increasingly difficult.