The 12 cuts of Christmas is an in-depth look at how service provision could be adversely affected by the severe cuts to Health, and Employment and Learning budgets in Northern Ireland.
Further to Minister Farry’s comments regarding an imminent 10.8% cut to his Department which “will have a knock-on impact for the Voluntary and Community sector in terms of grants coming from our DEL”, AMH has sought to highlight the sheer scale of both DEL and DHSSPSNI cuts if implemented.
David Babington, Chief Executive of Action Mental Health responded to the news of these intended cuts;
“It is with deep regret that I am responding to such severe cuts in both Health and Employment and Learning without any prior consultation from either departments. As Chief Executive of an organisation which awarded 2,753 training certificates and supported over 14,500 people across Northern Ireland last year, I am very disappointed to learn that our service provision appears to be undervalued and misunderstood.”
In addition, Mr Babington stated his opposition to proposed DHSSPSNI funding cuts as articulated in the recently published Departmental consultation document;
“As an organisation we will be consulting with both DEL and DHSSPSNI with regards to looming budget cuts. The 12 cuts of Christmas provides AMH with an opportunity to stake our claim as one of the most effective and trusted service providers in Northern Ireland. Annually we create massive dividends for the NI economy through helping thousands back into work and through alleviating hospitals through our preventative and recovery work programmes.”
Action Mental Health support the stance of NICVA’s Chief Executive Seamus McAleavey who stated;
“Quite simply the Minister proposes to protect his public expenditure allocations to statutory organisations by sacrificing the work of voluntary and community organisations.”
Action Mental Health provide various services, from suicide prevention, physical wellbeing activities to specialised educational services for people with learning disabilities and mental health issues. We deal with thousands of clients on a yearly basis who trust and value our work. AMH would urge the both the Minister for DEL and the Minister for DHSSPSNI to consult sufficiently with the sector and come to see for themselves the successful service we provide for boosting the employability of people across NI.
David Babington concluded by saying;
“Action Mental Health has worked hard to put ourselves in a situation where we can provide a quality, trusted and worthwhile service. We are one of Northern Ireland’s biggest providers of Further Education courses and mental health service provision. Cuts to our already slight budget would jeopardise our ability to deliver a service which to date has been hugely successful and essential for our clients.”
AMH echo the sentiments of NICVA by asking that the Minister provides ‘fairness’ for our sector when implementing budgetary measures for 2015-16.
|1||Last year 1,975 people across NI were enrolled in the AMH New Horizon Programme||Real threat of cuts from all funding streams including DEL to Voluntary & Community Sector budget||People in NI living with mental health conditions will be less able to enter the workplace, which will add greater pressure to NI welfare services|
|2||Last year 448 AMH clients were offered an alternative to waiting for a GP appointment or A&E queues via a local Pharmacy partnership Programme in Newry Craigavon & Fermanagh||Health budget cuts will affect £10,277 of funding currently received||Greater pressures per capita on NI health service, less self-help, less health knowledge amongst the local population|
|3||Last year in Fermanagh 135 people benefited from physical activity programmes delivered by AMH||Health budget cuts will affect £20,402 of funding for services||The proven link between mental wellbeing and physical activity, means negative impact will be created for recovery by alternatives to medication in NI|
|4||Last year one of our many employer training programmes was delivered to 130 business people in Antrim alone||Health budget cuts will mean that this investment of £1241, may not reoccur next year||Mental ill health at work costs employers £26bn each year in UK, a reduction in funding would lead to an increase in economic inactivity and sickness rates in NI|
|5||AMH is the voice for some of the most vulnerable and isolated sections of our society in NI||Cuts threaten all the central functions of our organisation – the research, policy-influencing, fundraising and campaigning capabilities of AMH||Less resources to educate the public on mental health issues and tackling stigma will have massive knock on effects for NI as a society|
|6||Last year we provided suicide and health promotion programmes to 8,235 young people in County Armagh||Health Budget cuts will affect £55,844 of funding for the future||The overall suicide rate in NI more than doubled in the past 30 years -without preventative services more lives will be lost and more families left devastated|
|7||Last year 70 people participated in a creative art for rehabilitation project in Fermanagh||Health Budget and DCAL cuts will affect £10,650 of funding||Research shows art therapy is particularly effective for people recovering from mental illness, Without such therapies medication is often the only alternative – once again this will increase the burden and cost to the health service in NI|
|8||Last year we supported 14,538 people in NI through our Employability, Health Promotion & Recovery programmes||Health budget cuts will affect the amount AMH receives to run all our services throughout NI||Our vision of a mentally healthy Northern Ireland now and in the future will be put at risk. Value for money services delivered by AMH would need to be provided by solely by statutory sector|
|9||AMH are receiving an increasing number of referrals for people with severe and enduring long term mental illnesses||Health budget cuts will affect the funding AMH receives to run all our services||In-patient and hospital bed pressures will increase if alternative services are lost|
|10||Last year AMH supported 9 adults living with Asperger’s syndrome in Newry alone||Health budget cuts will affect £3559 of service funding||Without this unique project there is less support as ASD increases across all health and social care trusts in NI (67% increase in 4 years)|
|11||AMH trained 253 people to self-manage their long term conditions across Derry, Omagh and Fermanagh||Health budget cuts will affect £44,000 of essential funding||Increased pressure on health service resources across NI will lead to reduction in quality of care|
|12||Last year our training centre for adults with learning disability in Bangor supported 81 people||Health budget cuts will affect £200,000 of service funding||Increased pressure on families and other services to support adults with special needs across NI|