In Camden and Islington (and there are rumours in other London boroughs) there are plans to cut all discretionary mental health services. These are mostly in the voluntary and private sector due to years of outsourcing and privatisation.
“Discrectionary services” describes pretty much everything that mental health services do that doesn’t involve an element of social control. Therefore people who use mental health services (whether through choice or coercion) will have the right to a mental health act assessment which should they become really unwell could result in detention in hospital; the “right” to take medication,;the right to a have a care co-ordinator (social worker or nurse) in the community. The resources that the worker would have previously accessed will be gone — no day services, employment support, college courses, self-help groups, talking therapies.
This in a climate where people’s mental health will be getting worse as a result of financial stress, job loss etc.
Lewisham council proposes the closure of five of the borough’s eight libraries; each threatened library has its own campaign but they are beginning to come together. One ongoing debate in the local campaign is over “alternatives”.
For instance the New Cross campaign literature says: “The alternative we are proposing is that the council hand over responsibility for the library building and service to the community and pay us a fixed amount every year to provide the service. There’ll still be loads of campaigning to do to make sure that they give us enough money (the starting point is what the library currently costs), but at least the threat of the service completely closing is removed.” That idea involves rehiring the librarians, but it does accept the fragmentation of what should be a centrally provided, well-resourced service.
There is a lobby of councillors on 23 September over the library cuts.
Lambeth strike planned
Lambeth Living is the ALMO which manages housing for Lambeth council. It plans severe cuts:
• All 35 Estate Services Officers are to be sacked.
• Posts will be reduced from 468 posts to 407 posts. Lambeth Unison has calculated that front line and lower paid workers will take the bulk of the cuts.
In an anonymous poll of 95 Lambeth Living staff, 85 said these changes would make the service worse.
Lambeth Unison is saying the cuts will mean a far worse service for tenants and leaseholders and is urging them oppose these cuts and to join us in demanding that the service is brought back in-house.
The union plans demonstrations against these cuts and is also balloting for industrial action.
LambethSaveOurServices@gmail.com or call 07957 505 571