Mental health charity Havering Mind lashes out at NHS bosses

Havering Mind is set to lose 42 per cent of its funding

Havering Mind is set to lose 42 per cent of its funding - Credit: Archant

The chairman of an imperilled mental wellbeing charity has called for Havering health bosses to “step up” and put a name to claims he says are “misleading and verging on lies”.

Havering Mind’s Robert Antell has lashed out at the borough’s Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) - a collection of GPs who control a £300m local health budget - after it chose to end a contract with the 50-year-old charity.

The CCG opted for a new service it says is more targeted and works actively with employers, over Mind’s Community Wellbeing Service (CWS), which runs projects such as choirs and support groups.

Defending the decision in the Recorder last month, the CCG used a spokesman - a move criticised by Mr Antell.

“I feel they should step up if they’re going to say something that’s misleading,” he said.

“They’re misleading people by pretending Havering Mind missed out when they put the service out to open tender.

“It’s disingenuous to pretend it’s the same service.”

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Mr Antell also criticised health bosses for making the decision without conducting an impact assessment.

Justifying the change of provider, a CCG spokesman previously said: “Following an open tendering and re-procurement process, the CCG has awarded the contract for the provision of new services to Richmond Fellowship.

“The new service will be more targeted and actively work with employers. It follows best practice across the rest of the country so people will get the support they need to move into training or employment based on their interests and needs.”

This week the CCG reiterated its position.

“The reason we didn’t have an impact assessment is because we’re re-procuring the same service,” said a spokesman.

As reported in September, Havering Mind fears the withdrawn funding - amounting to £170,000, or 42 per cent, of the charity’s total annual income - could spell disaster for a voluntary group active in the borough since 1965.

A petition to save the CWS, launched by the charity, has got more than 800 signatures.

Posting on the Streetlife social network, Claire B said: “Why funding for such a necessary service has been withdrawn is beyond me.”