Our Views

Blog #5 Recovery as a justification for service reductions

The next idea that figures largely in the anti-recovery discourse is the notion that promoting recovery is simply a device for justifying the reduction of services. Listening to some politicians and commissioners over the past few years this sounds quite plausible. It is certainly the case that mental health services have suffered savage reductions in the last few years, but that has not been done in the name of recovery. It was done initially to address the profligacy and corruption of international bankers. More recently, this rationale has been dropped and government has made it clear that it is simply part of a longer term policy to reduce public expenditure (and by implication to increase expenditure on private providers).

In ImROC we have always made it clear that service reductions must be a consequence of people recovering their preferred lives: they cannot cause it. Otherwise, one could get everyone to ‘recover’ by simply closing all services! That might appeal to those who are most keen to reduce public expenditure, but it is not appealing to the rest of us. My own suspicion is that those who criticise supporting recovery as opening the way for service reductions are actually expressing their broader – and very correct – concerns about the policies of austerity and their effects on public services. But it is important not to get the two mixed up. It is like blaming shortages of school or hospital places on EU immigration.