Don't cut NHS children's mental health and other key services in Lewisham! Fight the cuts!

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Lewisham council plans to cut £250,000 from the money it spends on the Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS). This service assesses and treats young people with serious mental health difficulties. It is already struggling to see everyone who needs support and to make sure they get all the specialist support that should be provided.

Following ongoing devastating cuts caused by the Government's slashed funding to local authorities, Lewisham Council is planning a further £2.5million of cuts to services that protect mental health. Services which are now more important than ever because schools are closed, social contact is rare and many people have lost loved ones or are distressed by the most deadly time since the second world war.

The planned cuts include:

  • Cutting £350,000 from the Health Visiting service, who make sure people under 5 are safe, healthy and their families have support.
  • Closure of supported housing for mothers and babies who are homeless and under 25.
  • Closure of housing placements for adults with enduring mental health needs.
  • Closure of The Bridge leisure centre.
  • Cutting a further £250,000 from Mental Health supported housing.
  • Cutting £150,000, without consultation, from the Youth Offending Service.
  • Cutting £170,000 from children's services, specifically, the services that run children's centres, adventure playgrounds, and counselling for drug, alcohol or sexual health problems.
  • Cutting £600,000 from the housing budget.
  • Cutting £250,000 from budgets for sexual health services.
  • Cutting £150,000 every year from the substance misuse budget, particularly cutting services for stays in detox units.
  • Cutting £70,000 in business support for education.

These cuts mean mental health problems will increase across all age groups. Also, those who have mental health problems will have less support, and because other NHS services are overwhelmed, they might not get support until it is too late.

Dr Tony O'Sullivan from the Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign and was the Director of Services for Children and Young people at Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust, recently told a meeting of the Council Children and Young People Committee:

"We understand completely the unacceptable pressures of the financial cuts imposed by Government on Lewisham Council and therefore on the population. 

The worry is that whether the cuts are deliverable and safe for children. I don’t think the cuts are safe and I don’t think the council should be saying they’re safe. Looking at the cuts papers, the damage the Government is doing is literally lethal. 

Above all else, we urge the council to defend the mental health and safety of children at the current time of Covid."

The meeting of councillors agreed that the planned £250,000 cut to the CAMHS team should not go ahead, but now it is up to Lewisham's mayor, Damian Egan to make the final decision.

We need Damien Egan to stand up for the children and young people of Lewisham and reverse these cuts. We do not want the council to take these cuts lying down. We want the Mayor to take a lead against Conservative cuts and encourage other councils to resist. Now.