Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Grenfell victims still need urgent action

Deborah Orr writes critically but movingly about the impact of the Grenfell tower fire on the mental wellbeing of its surviving victims. (“The Grenfell survivors don’t need our pity – they need homes,” 9 December; https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/dec/08/grenfell-tower-survivors-homes-fire)

In a written answer to Labour’s shadow fire safety and housing spokesperson Chris Williamson, health minister Jackie Doyle-Price asserted on 1 December:

“Mental health support for people affected by the Grenfell Tower fire has been co-ordinated by West London Clinical Commissioning Group and Central and North West London Foundation Trust with support from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

In response a proactive ‘screen and treat’ programme was established in August to support individuals in the local area potentially affected by the fire. In addition, emotional support is being provided through outreach and intervention provision in the community such as drop-in support, psychological first aid, counselling and support groups which can be accessed by anyone in the local area.

The local health sector is committed to responding to the needs and wishes of the local community. It is aiming to achieve this through continued joint working with other local agencies and community groups, listening to feedback from the community and the development of an agile dynamic service model to respond quickly to changing demands of those affected.”
It is very clear this arrangement, as with so many others in response to the Grenfell tragedy, is very far from sufficient, and that collectively the promises of several ministers –including the prime minister- to take urgent action to address the causes and consequences have failed.

This failure itself needs urgent rectification, as your front page news report ("Grenfell:call for families to be heard at last," 12 Dec.; https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/dec/11/grenfell-tower-police-investigating-corporate-manslaughter-offences)
and Amelia Gentleman's sensitive analysis of the Grenfell rehousing failures  on the same day (https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/dec/11/homeless-because-of-a-tragedy-struggle-to-rehouse-grenfell-survivors-continues) demonstrate.

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