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Mental health workers struggling with overwhelming workload, report finds

Labour and trade unions call for care services to be better funded

LABOUR and trade unionists are urging better funding for care services today after a report from the care watchdog revealed that workers in the sector are under significant pressure.

Shadow minister for mental health and social care Barbara Keeley said that harsh government cuts to social care from an “austerity-obsessed Tory government” have led to unsafe mental health wards and overwhelmed mental health departments.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) report analysed British social care and mental health services over the past year, reporting that while the standard of care had not fallen significantly,  underfunded care staff were finding themselves with overwhelming workloads following cuts of approximately £7 billion over the past decade.

The commission also identified that more patients with mental stress have been placed in acute hospitals as they were unable to access community mental health services easily.

The same has also been true for emergency hospitals, where those who suffer from ill mental health are placed – rather than in a more suitable assessment environment.

“No amount of plaster sticking from this government will plug the deep holes in our health and care services," Ms Keeley said.

“It’s time the Tories stopped tinkering around the edges and followed Labour’s lead by investing an additional £8bn in social care services and by increasing and ring-fencing mental health budgets, so funding reaches the front line.”

Unison head of local government Jon Richards said: “Despite many hurdles and challenges, they maintain their professionalism and always put the people they care for first.

“But unfortunately, there won’t be any significant improvement in the quality of care until the lack of training and persistent low pay in the care sector are tackled.

“Attempts to bring closer working with the NHS will only happen when social care is properly funded.

“Much more needs to be done to improve the social care sector and restore the dignity that’s lacking.”

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