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March 2011



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Article Date: 25 Mar 2011 – 10:00 PDT

Thousands of children and young people could be hit by proposed cuts to mental health services in Lewisham in south London.

Unite, the largest union in the country, said nearly £500,000 of cuts were in the pipeline at Lewisham CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services).


Unite hopes to involve local Lewisham MPs – Jim Dowd, Heidi Alexander and Joan Ruddock – in the campaign to stop the cuts which will be ‘a real blow’ to the children young people and families who use the services.


The savings are as a result of funding cuts from a variety of sources, including Lewisham Primary Care Trust (PCT) and Lewisham Borough Council.

Unite said that Lewisham CAMHS has frozen recruitment for vacant posts to achieve savings of £484, 000.

The proposed cuts include the schools’ team; the specialist refugee and asylum seeker outreach worker; and severe cuts to the specialist adolescent service which is one of only two adolescent forensic teams in the country, providing a mental health service to young offenders.

Unite regional officer, Richard Munn said: ‘Yet again, Tory rhetoric that frontline NHS services will be safeguarded is proven to be untrue. Children with mental health problems are some of the most vulnerable members of society, so early intervention is, therefore, vital to reduce the problems in later life.’

‘Without such early interventions, urban areas like Lewisham will deteriorate. Across the borough, other much needed support services for children and young people are being lost or reduced, so collectively this is a poorly thought through review by the management.’

‘Potentially, thousands of children, now and in the future, could be adversely affected by the scale of these cuts.’

Unite members at Lewisham CAMHS are campaigning to raise awareness and avert the impending damage to services.


The cuts include:

– specific funding from the schools’ team being withdrawn
– local authority funding has reduced by £160,000
– the funding for the adolescents’ team has been cut
– the primary care trust has reduced funding by £80,000.
– the rent for Kaleidoscope – the centre in Lewisham which houses all aspects of children’s services – has been increased

Unite The Union


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