You will probably know by now that all the mental health services in Manchester which were threatened with closure are to remain open.
The Manchester CCGs and Manchester Mental Health & Social Care Trust backed down just a couple of weeks before the services were due to be shut. They decided not to contest legal action brought by a service user. Although ultimately the closures were stopped by the threat of legal action, the many months of campaigning and the massive public, trade union, staff and service user support to keep the services open must have played their part.
The last year has been extremely stressful for all the staff and service users concerned (and for the UNISON branch officers and stewards and the other unions involved). So we want to thank all of them, and everyone who has supported the campaign, and celebrate the victory in some way.
But – there’s always a ‘but’ – the Manchester CCGs now say they are conducting a review of all mental health services in Manchester (although they do say that this is not about cutting costs but about getting the best model of care). And the MMHSCT is due to be merged with / taken over by Greater Manchester West Mental Health Trust from January 2017. So, the campaign against any cuts and for improvements in mental health services continues.
We have therefore drawn up a new petition and ask you to circulate this widely through your networks. The review of mental health services will probably continue until November 2016, and we want to collect signed petitions as part of our response to the review – so please get them signed and return to the UNISON branch office as soon as you can.
We are also organising an event, probably on Saturday 1st October, for our own review of where the campaign is up to and to consider responses to the CCG review, and to discuss the wider campaign for better mental health services within the whole of Devo Manc in Greater Manchester. This will be followed by an informal social / celebration. We will circulate details of this event as soon as possible (if you have ideas and/or would like to contribute to the cost of this event, please contact Caroline Bedale, firstname.lastname@example.org ). If you would like to be involved in planning this event please do come to an organising meeting on Wednesday 31st August, Friends Meeting House, Mount Street, Manchester M2 5NS, 6.00pm (tea/coffee) for start of meeting at 6.30pm. It would be helpful if you could let Ben Jackson (email@example.com) or Jane Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org) know if you are coming to that meeting.
Thanks again for your support for the campaign. Manchester still deserves better mental health services.
Campaign Coordinator, UNISON Manchester Community & Mental Health and ‘Manchester deserves better mental health services’