Hundreds of mental health jobs face cuts axe

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Up to 150 mental health jobs are to be axed by next month as the government continues to implement NHS efficient savings.

The cuts, which will affect areas in South London, including Lewisham and Croydon, are part of 3,230 jobs across the capital which will be terminated.

South London and Maudsley (SLAM) NHS Foundation trust, which provides services for people with mental health problems and those with drug or alcohol addiction, admitted that 150 posts would go in the next month.

The statistics were retrieved through freedom of information requests by anti-cuts campaign group False Economy, on behalf of the TUC.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said that the government was “reorganising the NHS in a way that strips out many of its founding principles, but also insisting on immediate cuts that will certainly harm front-line services.”

Marjorie Wallace, chief executive of the mental health charity Sane, said: “We are aware of the devastating effect that the cuts will have on the lives of people with mental illness – and the morale of those professionals who are already working at their limits.

“With the closures of psychiatric beds, day centres and even hospitals I dread to think where people will go at times of crisis and how they will receive consistent care and treatment.”

Lewisham has a higher than average number of people suffering from mental health problems, with an increased incidence of anxiety, panic disorders and phobias. Cases of major mental illness are higher amongst members of the Afro-Caribbean community. Croydon has a population of 319,000, with approximately 3500 patients who use community mental health services.

A Department of Health source said the figures were “deeply misleading.”

The findings come weeks after Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg unveiled the ‘No Health Without Mental Health Strategy’, which promises to provide an extra £400million for mental health care.

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