Friday, March 28, 2014

Cambridge Mental Health Centre Occupiers Win Closure Delay

Occupiers are still refusing to leave (photo:Save Cambridge CCS)
Earlier this month I reported how service users had been occupying a mental health drop-in centre which was earmarked for closure, as part of Cambridge and Peterborough NHS Trust's austerity drive. I described how:

"The centre has been open two days a week for the last twelve years, catering for adults with mainly borderline personality disorders. It offers a crisis clinic, a support group for service users, friends and family, and advice. The Trust has stated that a new 'care pathway' will provide some care for affected people."

However, the service users believed that "90% of patients in the Lifeworks service are not being referred to the new pathway", so "we are not moving until a representative from the Cambridgeshire Clinical Commissioning Group comes to us and we have some kind of agreement that we are going to be kept together as a community".

On Tuesday, authorities were embarrassed into making this statement:
"In light of concerns that have been raised about the closure of Lifeworks, we have considered the process that we undertook and we acknowledge that we could have done more to engage with service users. We are now planning to have further discussions with all those affected. All options over the future of Lifeworks remain open. These discussions cannot take place however until the people who are occupying Tenison Road have vacated the building. For the time being, Lifeworks will therefore remain open. However, continuing the group as it is currently provided will have an impact on our ability to provide more specific and evidence based services for people with personality disorders across the county."
Of course, this is false, and rests on the lie which underpins the whole of the austerity agenda across Europe, i.e. that 'there is no money'. There is plenty, and it must be taken from the rich.

The service users refused to throw away their bargaining chip by leaving the centre, and as of today, the occupation is still in full swing. A further protest rally for supporters has been scheduled for Saturday, 5th April, and the Save Cambridge's Complex Cases Service Facebook page is regularly updated.
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