Today’s Herts Advertiser contains a scathing article that is very critical of the NHS and their handling of the Crescent situation. There is also our response to the previously published letter to the paper from Herts County Council on the letters page too.
The “replacement” service started by Herts Aid last week is a poor imitation of the services offered by the Crescent. They offer now limited drop ins at drug and alcohol centres which total a maximum of 8 hours a week which is spread between three different Turning Point locations.
This is in comparison to the 37 hours a week minimum offered by the Crescent, and the new service is not available at evenings or weekends, something the Crescent has always provided. One session is only open for 2 hours, which could hardly be seen as worthwhile, or useful, to those needing support.
NHS Hertfordshire and Hertfordshire County Council need to rethink their plans and reinstate the Crescent as service provider, working with them to ensure that the needs of people living with HIV in West Hertfordshire are met. Herts Aid clearly do not have a clue, who on earth thought locating HIV care in drug and alcohol centres was a good idea?
Did anyone ask people living with HIV in Hertfordshire if they would accept this? The answer is no, Herts Aid merely suggested that the services would be available in different locations, they did not suggest these would be at Turning Point locations, sharing premises with their service users, forcing people to disclose why they were attending either directly, or indirectly, to others in attendance, hardly the safe, secure and confidential environment we currently experience when accessing the Crescent.
Everyone I have spoken to so far would not use the service, they feel it would compromise them, that it is not confidential, they would be exposed to risk of disclosure, and some felt fearful of using the locations. NHS Hertfordshire and Hertfordshire County Council are now creating a situation where vulnerable people are unable to access care essential to their physical and emotional wellbeing.
Shame on them ! This needs to be stopped and fast!
A further article is planned for next week and we will post links to the articles when they become available online from Sunday eve. Currrently you can only read these on the Herts Advertiser website if you sign on to their online paper, it is free so please check it out!
Thanks for your continued support