Blow to black mental health in Birmingham

secluded - prisonoriginally published:
1st October 2009

A petition is to be delivered to Downing Street in protest at the forced closure of Birmingham’s only black-led community mental health service.

Omnicare, a provider of mental health services to Birmingham’s Black community for a quarter of a century, will close its doors to patients after a two-year battle with Birmingham City Council to stay open. A group of people who have benefited from its services plan to deliver a 500-signature petition to Downing Street on 9 October 2009 in a last ditch attempt to draw attention to the loss of what they argue is a vital service to the community.

Omnicare was set up to plug a care gap that had left many Black mental health patients in Birmingham destitute once they were discharged from hospital. It did so through a ten-bed hostel and a drop-in day centre.

Smear allegations

In the course of the two-year fight, allegations have been levelled at the Council by patients, campaigners and staff that it used the death of a hostel resident in September 2007 to damage the organisation’s reputation and to abruptly withdraw funds without consulting the service’s users.

IRR News tried to contact Birmingham City Council’s Third Sector Partnership Team about this allegation but no one was available for comment.

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