Cuts to mental health service ‘will put young people at risk’

Hundreds of vulnerable children and teenagers could be hit by £500,000 of cuts to a London health service.

The move follows a squeeze on funding and desperate attempts by the local NHS trust and council to make government-imposed savings. The Unite union today said the proposed cutbacks at Lewisham Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services will be a “real blow” to the families who rely on it.

The savings are a result of funding cuts from a variety of sources including Lewisham Primary Care Trust and Lewisham council.

Unite said that the Lewisham mental health service had frozen recruitment for vacant posts to achieve savings of £484,000. The plans include the schools’ team, the specialist refugee and asylum seeker outreach worker, and cuts to the specialist adolescent service which is one of only two teams in the country which provide a mental health service to young offenders.

Unite regional officer, Richard Munn said: “Potentially, thousands of children could be adversely affected by the scale of these cuts.”

Speaking on behalf of Lewisham CAMHS, a spokesman for South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are working closely with our health, social care and voluntary sector partners to ensure we can maintain high quality services, with fewer resources.”