"I am working in adolescent mental health provision at present and am concerned as to where Con-Dem plans for the NHS will lead says a south London psychiatric nurse.

We are working with vulnerable young adults who without our service can in all likelihood face the prospect of continuously being in and out of highly unsuitable adult wards with all the risk factors involved for adolescents in an adult unit.

At present our main culture of care is to keep adolescents in the community when possible and to limit hospital stays and time spent in hospital to an absolute minimum.

I hope that these plans to open up the NHS to private provision will be defeated as if not health care will become a business commodity, and let us face it mental health services always face the axe first when governments in thrall to neo-liberalism start wielding the axe.

Already we are seeing posts frozen as we no longer have a social worker or a practice development nurse, the teachers in the school unit are facing possible redundancy as part of cost cutting measures and we also have the prospect of nursing staff over the age of 65 being made redundant, despite their expertise gained over 40 years or so of nursing, this coming June before it is made illegal to do as such in October.

Without our service teenage mental health patients will be facing having to struggle to survive with no support whatsoever in a society that is becoming increasingly callous.

We have a clear future for the next 12 months as we have contracts with other health authorities up until the end of the next financial year, but we will be a depleted service even more than we are now. So what would this lead to?

Namely short staffed units with the attendant pressures on remaining staff thus leading to higher sickness rates and staff turnover levels – last year we lost 13 staff, so these cuts affect frontline nursing personnel as well. It is being run for profit and not for people.

These plans for the NHS are dangerous for both public and patients; we must defeat them before it is too late. The UK has one of the lowest quality of life satisfaction for working class children and adolescents, so therefore our service is vital in this regard.

What hope for vulnerable young people without services like the one we provide?

What hope for young people under this illegitimate and vicious government?

 

Phil Brand.

Psychiatric Nurse.