Why are Mental Health social workers planning to strike?















There is a chronic retention issue within the Mental Health Social Work Teams, 13 permanent and locum staff have left – or in some cases come and gonewithin the last 10 months. A lot of the permanent staff we have lost are the most experienced staff which means the teams are disproportionately made up of newly qualified staff.

We have a large waiting list for allocation of a social worker, some people are waiting over a year to see a social worker in which time they are likely to become more unwell or feel distressed because they aren’t getting the support they need. We deal with very complex situations, working with people in vulnerable situations including adults at risk of self-inflicted harm or harm from others.

We carry out needs assessments to facilitate discharges from hospitals for people with mental ill-health and while hospital discharges are prioritised so allocation takes place relatively quickly, sometimes a wait can still contribute to delays with discharge. As hospital discharges and high-risk situations are prioritised, it can mean that we can’t prioritise seeing people until a situation worsens and cannot do the work we want to do as social workers to put in place things that could prevent or reduce the risk of a situation worsening.

The stress from working in challenging conditions without the resources needed takes its toll on Mental Health social workers and contributes to high staff turnover. When staff leave then it can take a while for their cases to be reallocated which impacts the experience that Barnet residents have of Mental Health services and contributes to longer waiting lists.



Notes to Editors.

Contact details: Barnet UNISON on 0208 359 2088 or email: contactus@barnetunison.org.uk


Breaking News: 100% vote by Mental Health Social Workers for strike action


Breaking News: Barnet Council Mental Health social workers to be balloted for strike action.


UNISON calls for urgent action over chronic shortages of frontline Mental Health social workers.