Hounslow lobbies Hewitt on NHS cuts

Hounslow Council has referred proposed NHS funding cuts of up to 25 per cent in child and adolescent mental health services to health secretary Patricia Hewitt.

The council’s scrutiny committee used its statutory power to refer contested service changes to the secretary of state over the plans to slash the Camhs budget by up to £500,000 in 2007-8.

The council said this would result in 150 fewer young people being treated each year and waiting times increasing by up to three months.

Service commissioner Hounslow Primary Care Trust and provider the West London Mental Health Trust said the proposed cuts were caused by pressure on NHS bodies to balance their books and the ­pooling of the formerly ring-fenced PCT Camhs development fund with other grants.

The PCT said the pooled allocation had been reduced by £2m for 2007-8, forcing the trust to prioritise contractual obligations, such as payments to GPs.

But Jon Hardy, chair of the adult, health and social services scrutiny panel, said: “We believe that these cuts are just storing up bigger problems – and costs – for later.”

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