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19 September 2012

Report from Salford: Uniting to save mental health services

Steven North Salford Socialist Party

Following the success of the campaign to save day centres for the elderly and those with learning disabilities earlier this year, Salford city council will again be challenged on plans to make the most vulnerable pay for the crisis of capitalism.

Despite assurances given in the summer, the council and Greater Manchester West NHS Mental Health Trust will go ahead with proposals to cut jobs and remove key staff from community groups and drop-ins, before any consultation has taken place with the service users who rely on those facilities.

Staff and service users have worked together in the past to protect services and are well placed to take the council on.

A public meeting has been organised and a joint letter sent to Salford's newly elected Labour mayor, Ian Stewart, asking him to reverse the decision immediately.

Staff are considering the possibility of industrial action to defend their colleagues who face redundancy. Service users have already formed themselves into a campaign committee, appropriately entitled United Service Users Committee - or USUC!

Both groups come together on 1 October in a meeting organised by Salford Against the Cuts to launch a campaign to press the Mayor to cancel the plans.

We believe the reason for the lack of consultation is that both council and Trust are worried that service users will not only want to retain their groups and drop-ins, but will want to fight for the jobs of the care workers as well.

The campaign plans to link up with activists in Manchester who are already fighting against horrific attacks on their mental health services. We ask all readers to email Ian Stewart at asking him to fulfil Salford's promise to vulnerable people and not to attack mental health services.

Public Meeting to Save Mental Health Services

Monday 1 October, 7-9pm, Swinton Royal British Legion, Cheetham Road, Swinton, Salford, M27 4UL