”Things needs to change”- Social Service Members Speak Out Against Health Sector Crisis

 After it was revealed more people than ever were being rejected for help from Mental Health services, Maidstone Specialist Children’s Services speak out about the crisis. 

Reports earlier this year described how the mental health sector was in crisis, it was revealed by The Guardian that over 80%

of health services feared that they couldn’t offer high quality care to patients.

The mental-health services are stretched to their maximum capacity with the longest waiting times recorded until patients can

access care, especially for children.



A report from NHS providers concluded ‘children, older people and people in a mental health crisis too often receive

inadequate care for conditions such as anxiety, depression and eating disorders.’


Since these claims were made, members from The Child Specialist Service Team in Maidstone have voiced their opinion on the crisis.


Claira Newman, Social Worker, said ”GP’s are often making referrals to mental health however the waiting lists are very lengthy

and GPs are not always proactive is checking and pushing the referrals forward and access to support via counselling and

talking therapy have long waiting list up to 18 months.”



The NHS has seen a rise in the amount of patients needing help and coming forward for these services, cuts from the

government have made it increasingly hard for services to keep up with the demands.


Claira continued ”People are encouraged to use online counselling however this also has to be referred by GP. This places

increased pressure on hospitals in terms of A&E attendance, statics have shown the people with mental health are access A&E

with anxiety. The police have also been affected by this and there have been several times heighted in the media in respect of

this. ”



The government cuts have not only had an effect on the police but on families that the Specialist Services work with, by

putting added pressure on them through housing cuts and making necessities unaffordable.


Claira describes the affect by saying ” A parent experiencing all the structural factors will start to fall in the realm of feeling

hopeless this will heighten their anxiety leading to increased mental health they then might find that their self-medicating

through drink and drugs.”


Explaining the view of her team, Claira says ”All services have been adversely affected by the cuts and changes in the welfare

system and this impacts on young children and vulnerable adults most profoundly. Therefore things need to change and the

health sector needs more funding to support these families.”



Speaking to the drug and alcohol charity ‘Forward’ they said

”The Forward Trust took over the contract for community drug and alcohol services in East Kent in May 2017.  Since we have taken

over the service we have been working with a wide range of people – including current and former clients – about how and where we

can improve the service. A key priority for this work is how we can work with local partners, including healthcare providers

and CCGs (the bodies that oversee GPs), to identify how we can better support people with drug and alcohol issues access the service.

This work is ongoing with the aim to have waiting times between referral and assessment below two weeks.”










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