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Nurses protest at mental health cuts in South London

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Healthcare staff employed at South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust were involved in a lunchtime protest over service cuts last week.

The protest, which took place on Thursday at Springfield Hospital in South London, was timed to coincide with the trust board’s annual general meeting.

Unison regional officer Michael Walker said: “We are witnessing unprecedented levels of cuts in frontline NHS mental health services at a time when there is a massive increase in demand for our services.”

“These cuts in front line NHS services are deep and dangerous and seriously threaten to undermine the mental health services we provide,” he said.

Mr Walker said that, over the last year, the trust had cut the number of qualified nurses on wards and closed 10 mental health wards.

“Many more are under treat of closure including those for ‘acute psychiatric’ patients, as well as numerous hostels in the community,” he said.

Unison branch secretary Suresh Desai added that the union remained committed to working with the trust to attempt to limit the impact of cuts, but warned this was proving “increasingly difficult”

A spokesman for South West London and St George’s said: “In common with the rest of the NHS, the trust faces significant challenges over the next few years, with a reduction in the overall budget and increased costs. 

“We are looking at all our services to see where changes can be made in order to maximise efficiencies, while continuing to ensure the quality and safety of the care we provide to patients.”

He added: “The trust is committed to engaging with staff about any proposed service changes and, wherever possible, offering suitable redeployment opportunities.”

However, the spokesman denied that 10 wards had been closed over the past year and said the correct figure was three.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Hopefully this is just a start of things to come! Strike! For the love of whatever bloody god you believe in and to save our profession!

    STRIKE!

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