Mental Health Staff To Strike

Medical staff are to strike over plans they claim will `devastate’ Manchester’s mental health care and put patients and the public in danger.

Staff at Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust have voted overwhelmingly for strike action over proposals to cut 33 community nurses and eight occupational therapists, while at the same time increasing the number of managers and social workers.

Two thirds of the trust’s staff are members of Unison. Ninety per cent voted to walk out on January 31. But they stressed they will remain on call if there is an emergency. Unison representative Karen Reissmann said: “We are determined to stop the devastation of mental health services and are hoping they will realise how wide the opposition is and see sense.

“Services are under so much pressure we have to send sick people home. We are afraid these cuts will mean a patient does something devastating to themselves or someone else that was preventable.”

Health bosses say they are worried the strike will impact on patient care and stressed the plans for the radical overhaul are the result of a public consultation last year. A spokesman for the trust said: “It is regrettable that Unison members have expressed this opinion given the trust is still analysing all comments from a formal consultation.”