The threat to the Derbyshire psychotherapy service that helps adults traumatised in childhood by sexual and physical abuse should set alarm bells ringing with the public, Unite, the country’s largest union, has warned.

The Derbyshire NHS commissioners who commission services on behalf of the NHS will start a consultation in October as to its future with a view to making £500,000 of savings. 

Unite, which represents the nine psychotherapists at the psychodynamic psychotherapy service, understands there is no other service available that can do this kind of in depth work with people and that commissioners are unable to be clear and straightforward about the gap that will be left if this service is cut.  

The over-subscribed service works with adults who were deeply traumatised as children by sexual and physical abuse, domestic violence, and/or living with parents with alcohol and substance abuse problems.  

Unite estimates that the service has benefited up to 10,000 Derbyshire residents over the years. 

Unite regional officer Maureen Scott-Douglas said: “Alarm bells should be ringing with the Derbyshire public that this excellent service is under threat. Unite will be spearheading a campaign to save this vital NHS service.  

“It is deeply disappointing and unacceptable that the Derbyshire commissioners are proposing to cut the psychodynamic psychotherapy service. 

“It has an excellent record of helping adults deeply traumatised by severe abuse as children, such as neglect, as well as sexual and physical abuse. 

“Many of those who attend for therapy have self-harmed and attempted suicide on one or more occasions and/or been admitted to psychiatric hospital.  

“It is extraordinarily insensitive and out of touch for the commissioners to describe such a service as ‘nice to have’, but not essential. 

“We are all increasingly aware of the extent and devastating impact of childhood abuse, in particular childhood sexual abuse.  

“This cannot be the time to cut a service that offers traumatised adults treatment to work through the devastating consequences of their abuse. The loss of this specialised department will leave a gap that no other service is in a position to fill.  

“This proposal has not been developed in consultation with the actual clinicians at the frontline who better understand what is needed.  

“The service is consistently judged in quality inspections as being ‘outstanding’. Demand is high and it receives three times as many referrals as it has the capacity to accept. 

“Commissioners are increasing funding for short term therapies for patients with mild to moderate psychological difficulties, but, at the same time, they propose to cut funding for those scarred by childhood trauma. It is incomprehensible that they are seen as a lesser priority”  


Notes to editors: 

The service comes under Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. 

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on:  020 3371 2065. Email: 

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.