Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 12 October 2016

Attack on young people's health and social care: urgent fightback needed

Privatised NHS workers employed by Care UK in Doncaster striking against cuts, photo by Paul Mattsson

Privatised NHS workers employed by Care UK in Doncaster striking against cuts, photo by Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Youth mental health crisis: unions must strike to fight cuts

'Harriet Ryman', NHS nurse, London

Record numbers of children are ringing helpline Childline with suicidal thoughts. And the Guardian reports that the number of children attending A&E with psychiatric conditions was up 8% - to 18,673 - in 2014-15.

One in ten children suffer from a diagnosable mental health disorder. One in every 12 inflict harm on themselves by cutting or burning their skin, punching or hitting themselves, poisoning themselves, deliberately starving themselves, or abusing drugs and alcohol.

The number of young people being admitted for harming themselves has risen in the last five years, according to charity Young Minds.

The Mental Health Foundation charity says some of the key risk factors associated with the development of mental health problems in children are living in poverty and growing up in care. With the increase in benefit cutbacks, and the rise in homelessness, the number of children requiring mental health care will only increase further.

The new Children and Social Work Bill (see story right) will only make this worse. It gives councils the choice of opting out of legislation designed to protect children in care. These children will be more vulnerable than ever to physical, sexual and emotional abuse, and material deprivation.

NHS data covering just three in every five mental health trusts shows 235,000 children are receiving mental health care in England alone. But there will be many more children who suffer mental and emotional disturbances and cannot access any services unless and until they get a clear diagnosis.

Bosses are cutting child and adolescent mental health services (Camhs) in the face of escalating need. A Young Minds investigation last year found more than half the councils in England had cut or frozen Camhs budgets between 2010-11 and 2014-15. And a recent poll by the Royal College of Nursing found 70% of specialist nurses think Camhs provision is "inadequate".

Teachers are struggling to support troubled children. A primary head speaking to the Guardian said "the challenge for us is there's a very high threshold for children and families to access services. If we are concerned about a child's mental health we would make a referral straight to Camhs but we very often are told 'this does not reach the threshold'."

The ongoing policy of cuts to the NHS, public services and benefits is creating a toxic situation. It is hitting us all - but the youngest and most vulnerable the hardest.

All trade unionists must fight the so-called NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plan. This is a fancy term for even more drastic cutbacks to the health service.

The National Shop Stewards Network has produced a model motion calling on the leaderships of all health unions to draw up campaigns to fight Sustainability and Transformation Plans. This means action up to and including strike.

Coordinated strikes could push this vicious but weak government back - and if spread and escalated, even bring it down.

The Socialist Party says

Stop the 'Children and Social Work Bill' blitz

The Children and Social Work Bill will remove key laws protecting children, photo by Matt J Newman (Creative Commons)

The Children and Social Work Bill will remove key laws protecting children, photo by Matt J Newman (Creative Commons)   (Click to enlarge)

'Jane Hannigan', NHS worker, Devon

The government's Children and Social Work Bill is currently under discussion in the House of Lords. If passed, it will allow councils to opt out of many of the laws protecting vulnerable children and young people.

These laws have been adopted over the last eight years following horrific cases such as Victoria Climbié and Baby P. The power of 'choice' for local authorities would be at the command of the secretary of state for education, who could allow three-yearly trials of different approaches, leading to an experimental postcode lottery of child protection.

Also worrying is the potential opening of the back door for privatisation, for companies such as Richard Branson's Virgin Care. The current laws prohibit profit-making companies being involved in child protection.

Virgin Care has become one of the biggest private providers of community healthcare. This year alone it has won six multimillion-pound bids on providing NHS community services around the country.

In 2012, commissioners chose Virgin Care for a £130 million contract to provide core NHS and social care services in Devon. The plan was to take over, 'integrate' (cut), and exploit for profit various children's services.

But although they got health workers, Virgin Care was prevented from including social workers due to legislation now under threat from the Children and Social Work Bill.

With council budgets still under attack from this austerity government, the offer of private companies running these services will look very appealing to councillors unwilling to stand up to Tory cuts.

Children's services have already seen unprecedented cuts. Commissioning for public health, moved from NHS to council responsibility, has faced £200 million in budget cuts from central government. This year, routine nasal-spray flu immunisations for five and six-year-olds are being provided in schools by pharmacists working for tax-avoiding chemist Boots.

These cuts to social work and public health funding and regulation - by the unelected prime minister Theresa May - will leave children and young people at higher risk of abuse and neglect.

A coordinated campaign across the public sector, including joint industrial action and a socialist political voice for workers, really is needed. Only this can protect the most vulnerable in society, our future, and our children and young people.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 12 October 2016:

Housing crisis

Butterfields victory: housing crisis can be beaten

Tories’ £5bn for housing not enough

What we think

Tories whip up division over Brexit...fight for a socialist, internationalist exit

Where next for the BMA junior doctors' dispute

Socialist Party news and analysis

Say no to fracking!

Support the Rotherham 12

Suicidal phone calls: fight to reverse tax credit cuts

Black History Month

Malcolm X: hero of black liberation

Socialist Party workplace news

Union library campaign strikes blow against Bromley Tories

Bin workers' strike - "about more than just pay"

AMEY = A Massive Empty Yard

Ritzy strikers walk-out and rally

Workplace news in brief

International socialist news and analysis

Poland: Mass movement stops total ban on abortion

South Africa: The battle for free education

Shimon Peres - a wolf in sheep's clothing

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Lambeth working class demo against cuts and gentrification

Appeal: Don't let the banks wreck our finances!

Momentum should show Blairites the door, not Socialist Party members!

Lobby to keep vital day centre funding

Bradford day centre campaigners meet to fight closure

Fight to save care homes in Carlisle

Cable Street 80th anniversary demo

Health and social care attacks

Attack on young people's health and social care: urgent fightback needed

The Socialist inbox

The Socialist inbox


Home   |   The Socialist 12 October 2016   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook

Related links:


triangleLeaked pay deal: fight for a genuine pay rise

triangleNHS: public health - not private profit

triangleHands Off HRI campaign group meets Corbyn and Ashworth

triangleWhat's behind the surge in eating disorders?

triangleTories raid £1bn from NHS facilities budget - unions must act

Young people:

triangleSpain: millions on streets against sexism and capitalist oppression

triangleMay's EU speech kicks the can down the road

triangleUnited States: young people demand change after latest mass shooting

triangleSocialist Students conference highlights successful work


triangleTamil youth march for justice

triangleSouthampton Socialist Party: Solidarity with the revolt of workers and youth in Iran

triangleMovement challenges Iranian regime


triangleInternational Women's Day

triangleThe Socialist inbox: International Women's Day


triangleWorkplace news in brief


triangleStrike continues: set dates for next national action


triangleSwansea Labour council votes for cuts

Mental health:

triangleNHS crisis: under pressure from all angles - end cuts and sell-offs!


triangleCampaigners continue to demand Chorley A&E is fully reopened


triangleRussia, spies and nerve agents


triangleProfits up Wages down


triangleBristol South Socialist Party: Homelessness and the housing crisis


triangleTrump v NHS


triangleSpring Statement 2018: Tory austerity staggers on despite economic and political weakness

Reviews and comments

Reviews and comments



Gripping spy thriller exposes hypocrisy of Falklands/Malvinas war


The Socialist

International Women's Day


Sexual harassment

Fighting sexual harassment in entertainment



The Socialist inbox



The Socialist inbox: International Women's Day



Socialist anti-war exhibition opens in Kingston



The Socialist inbox



What's behind the surge in eating disorders?



The Socialist inbox



In Windsor none of us want to see homeless people on the street



I'm now a 'manager' and I can barely manage!



The Socialist inbox



Darkest Hour: Not the usual flattery of brutal Tory Churchill



Bernie's book shows need for workers' party



GCSE grading game stresses out students - even more than before!

triangleMore Reviews and comments articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0191 421 6230

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551



Alphabetical listing

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018