Older people’s and mental health services face cuts

NHS cuts are falling on older people’s and mental health services across the country as trusts battle to clear overall deficits of £900 million, it was claimed this week.

The Royal College of Nursing said resources were being diverted from services for vulnerable groups to help meet government acute care targets, as it produced evidence from across England on where the cuts were biting.

And charity Rethink said mental health services faced cuts of at least £30 million across up to 30 areas.

The RCN claimed more than 13,000 job losses had been announced by trusts over the past two months. It said: “The evidence suggests that health services and staff working to support older adult patients, those with long-term conditions or who have mental health needs are being squeezed.”

It said cuts in London had affected services designed to prevent hospital admissions, while community and specialist older people’s beds in eastern England had been slashed without corresponding investment in social care.

Help the Aged attacked cuts in specialist palliative care nurses, also cited by the RCN.
Policy manager Jonathan Ellis said: “When more, not less specialist palliative care is needed, cutbacks to staff with professional training in those areas will only serve to exacerbate existing problems in health care delivery.”


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