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No hope now for a decent mental health service in London

Mike | 18.11.2006 11:53 | Analysis | Health | London

With cuts in mental health services and difficulties in staffing due to the high cost of living in London I am sure that most mental health services are hoping that workers will strike bar those that are in hospital. In Haringey or Wandsworth they have yet to do so and as such have lost any respect from me.

I attend a drop-in mental health cafe in Balham in Wandsworth, South London on occassions. I spent nearly thirty years living in South London and so realise it is important to visit sometimes especially in the context of little or no support from former relatives and friends after spending one year on the streets to escape severe harrassment. There is one worker who is employed usually on weekends and is not a permanent member of staff who contributes virtually nothing to that small community and who even asked an elderly woman to move tables stating that you ought to make some contribution to a music appreciation group.
The spells spent in this cafe drop-in area by mental health workers are spent on the whole in reading newspapers and playing scrabble as well as counting the number of people who enter the drop-in facility to indicate how well used the service is. The fact that Wandsworth council force the service provider the Family Welfare Association to count service users means that cafe workers cannot actually talk to people who may have huge problems and who drop-in partly to seek assistance and company. Meanwhile in Haringey most day centre workers
gripes are poor pay and poor housing as they are not excepted as key workers.
In Haringey, the day centre is run by the local council. Low salary work an unhappy workforce unless of course they are the wife or husband of a chartered accountant and would such people have any knowledge of the problems of working class clients. As someone who accidentally shocked himself when cleaning the kitchen and then was assaulted on Thursday 16th November 2006 I would still prefer mental health day centres to strike rather then being so unhappy that the service providing is so negative. Rather that then continued concerns of how they can climb the management ladder even if it is at the expense of a client. I wonder how many other clients have had continued harrassment from neighbours and been told by their psychiatrists that verbal racial harrassment and harrassment against disability is no more then a symptom of their mental health problem with no support from their key worker who then decides to cut off contact because they realise they basically cannot cope with the problem and by providing no care on the pretext that the patient is getting better without any notification they then cover themselves if anything goes wrong. Would not you prefer mental health workers in the community to strke as well.

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Display the following 2 comments

  1. why aren't mental health workers striking? — sheela-na-gig
  2. FUBAR! — Ex-Haringay Nutter