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Cornish mental health services cut back

Frontline staff have been dramatically cut from Cornwall's child mental health services, leaving vulnerable children and adolescents at risk, say Unite the union.

A third of staff working for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in Cornwall have lost their jobs since 2005.

However, "managerial time" is set to increase by 200%.

The CAMHS team includes psychiatrists, mental health nurses, art therapists and child psychologists as the "last stop" before young people are admitted into hospital outside Cornwall.

Unite the union say that cutbacks at the Cornwall Trust could mean that vulnerable children suffering from depression, self-harming tendencies and eating disorders may have to seek treatment outside of Cornwall.

Unite Regional Officer Heath Pettifer said: "Children will be at risk as the service is cracking and groaning under the massive amounts our members already do.

"Riskier and riskier situations will be left unaddressed, as there will be no time to deal with them. There will also be less time to do routine liaison work which could mean children falling through the safety nets proposed by the Victoria Climbie enquiry."

Twenty-one full time staff are to be replaced with 14, the latest round of cuts are to be imposed before April next year.

Heath Pettifer added: "If these short-sighted cuts go ahead, it will be more costly in the long-run as out-of-country admissions will rise.

"CAHMS staff provide a fantastic service, despite the fact they are severely under resourced.

"Now this excellent work is going to be sacrificed on the altar of the budget cuts with only the scantiest of public consultation."

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