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From The Socialist newspaper, 29 March 2017

Dispute against backdoor privatisation of mental health services

Save our NHS demo 4.3.17, photo Mary Finch

Save our NHS demo 4.3.17, photo Mary Finch   (Click to enlarge)

NHS mental health worker

Jobs and services are at risk in a London mental health trust as a result of a planned restricting of the psychological therapies 'IAPT' service. These therapists provide intensive treatment to resolve post-traumatic stress disorder.

Mental health guidelines recommend that people suffering symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder such as nightmares and flashbacks require 'step three' high-intensity therapy if they are to recover.

In spite of the dire need for this therapy reflected in the lengthy waiting lists, there are plans to slash the step three service by removing five posts.

GMB union members do not agree with the restructuring proposals put forward by management. The trust plans to divert more service users who are on poverty wages or benefits, to a private counselling service as part of a 'mixed model of service provision'. This private counselling service costs 10-15 a session and offers a lesser level of support.

Our members do not accept that there is no money. GMB has discovered that money is coming from NHS England that can secure those jobs.

Cuts are being proposed in face-to-face services while highly paid management posts are not being threatened as part of the planned restructure. The trust is prepared to increase its investment in the private counselling service.

We can clearly see that the IAPT service is being cut back and shaped to carry less staff and offer less to patients in order to make it more profitable for private providers.

Our members have organised themselves, encouraged others to join our union and in doing so are giving a clear message to management that if these cuts go ahead we will enter into a dispute.

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In The Socialist 29 March 2017:


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