No word from council over mental health cuts

The council is remaining tight lipped about the details of huge cuts within the authority’s mental health department, agreed last week.

At last Wednesday’s budget setting meeting, councillors voted to slash the funding for mental health by more than a third, from £3.16 million this financial year to just over £2 million next year. This was despite a dearth of information on exactly how such a significant cut would be achieved.

Budget documents for the social services committee outlining the  proposal contained inly vague suggestions as to what might be ahead. These included the “implementation of service charges” (no details yet available); the redesign of “dementia” services and unspecified internal “efficiencies”.

The report also suggests that there will be “service level reductions”, though these are identified only as “maximise independence, use of assistive technology and third sector [voluntary sector] capacity.”

All efforts to clarify the proposals this week were rebuffed by the council. A spokeswoman said: “This is a particularly sensitive area of service, and it would not be appropriate at this time to discuss the detail of future service levels.”

More in this week’s Shetland Times.


Add Your Comment
  • Jane Leask - Clousta

    • March 1st, 2013 16:22

    Surely it is the fact that this is a particularly sensitive area of service is why there needs to be clarity in what services will be available.

    I am sad to see that again the cuts are to some of the most vulnerable people in society.

    Working in the third sector myself I know that we too are tightening our belts and seeing an increase in clients with mental health issues already accessing our services. I’m not sure the third sector has the capacity to absorb the work currently undertaken by the SIC. So what happens then?

  • James Mackenzie

    • March 3rd, 2013 23:04

    It’s just another nail in the coffin of the poor and disenfranchised, or the socially excluded. The language (“it’s too sensitive to talk about in public”) is chilling. Who will speak on behalf of people prone to mentally illness in council deliberations? Will they have a voice themselves?

    Charities throughout the UK, dependent on public funding, are feeling the pinch, just as local authorities are being strangled of their funds, or are conned into thinking there is no alternative to cuts. Meanwhile the NHS is being privatised “by stealth”. Who benefits from this? Only the rich. And you can bet your bottom dollar that by the time such wealth “trickles down” to the poor, it’s dried up, diverted.

    This all stems from a monetarist economic philosophy introduced fom the USA in the 1980s by the Tories and since succumbed to by New Labour, and the Liberal Democrats. The SNP is not free from it either: it has an unenviable record of ignoring the wishes and fears of local communities, in favour of perceived national economic gain.

    How to reverse the trend? Not easy I fear, but with every child born there is hope.

    So I hope that Shetland’s recently born child, Mareel, will show the new Ken Loach film “Spirit of ’45”, and that embers of a slockit fire are rekindled.

    In this documentary, survivors of war and depression, poverty and sickness, display to this day the passion with which they embraced a vision of a truly fair and humane socialist society, and allowed – among other things – a National Health Service, free at the point of care, to be a cornerstone of post-2nd World War Britain.

    It’s to them, and their unwilling inheritors of inequality and discrimination, not to the bankers, nor the politicians, that we owe our common, shared future.

  • Mark Gorman

    • March 26th, 2013 23:30

    As somebody who is currently in dispute with SIC over their complete neglect of my father’s physical and mental well being I well know that any reform or reduction in budget will leave the elderly and vulnerable to fall through the cracks of council apathy. Their complete ineptitude and continuously chaotic approach have left a once proud member of the Shetland community lost, lonely and afraid to be in his own home. How is this “caring for the vulnerable and the needs of the island community” ?
    Maybe we should ask the SIC appointed psychiatrist to take a pay cut from £75,000 salary on offer in order to aid the Shetlander’s who have paid their dues and now need help in return ?

    If you wish to hear more email: for the truth of how the council treat vulnerable members of the community whose only requirement is to be treated decently and cared for in a positive environment. If you want lies and apathy email the SIC Council!


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