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UK: HIV helpline service suffers funding cut

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  1. Did I read that correctly?

    THT to deprive many of a vital service citing lack of government funding?

    Can I remind those of you who care enough to listen that this “charity” raises hundreds of thousands of pounds in donations and gala charity events, and has invested much millions in a portfolio of prestigious properties in prime central London.

    WTF is it playing at by yet again citing “lack of funds” as a pretext for withdrawing more vital HIV services?

    WHAT is it doing with the income it generates as a registered charity, for heaven’s sake?

    Or is THT finally going to come clean and admit that it is now a quasi-governmental organisation and takes its orders from central government as opposed to the genuine charity set up over 30 years ago by a dedicated team of pioneers to fight the spread of HIV and protect the rights of those infected?

    What excuse does it have for hoovering up all STI-related government funding going if it can’t fund its own HIV services?

    1. Nothing new to say eh Samuel, how many times are we to hear the same tired lines from you????

      Of course I am very sure that you are happy to have Serco & Virgin Healthcare take over more and more services cutting them to the bone & making them more & more impersonal.

      You are quite right when you say follow the money Samuel, like it or not if THT & other charities (or third sector organisations as they have become) don’t provide the services who will? – Ahhh yes the great private sector that will also be Government funded, making shareholders better off using tax payer money, how can that be right???

      What is your solution Samuel I’m all ears!

      1. As usual, you have avoided responding to my main point, W6.

        WHY is THT not investing its OWN funds to ensure the users of this vital help line continue to enjoy the same standard of service as before?

        Well?!

        I have provided the solution you request – i.e. that the THT dip into its own vast pockets (you yourself say that its property empire was set up to ensure that the charity can survive beyond such times as we are now living in) – yet you continue to evade the issue.

        1. Errrr if funding has been cut where is the money coming from Samuel – thin air? All services must be fully funded for either the length of the contract or provided with open ended funding as would be the case for THT Direct. THT is investing in the helpline service, I am not sure of the precise figure but it will be in the region of 125K to maybe up to 150k a year. There are no hidden millions Samuel THT accounts are fully transparent & independently audited. You just can’t resist HIV charity bashing can you.

          You always see the headline & never the detail Samuel – THT Direct is a very specialised service, it provides accredited advice & requires enough resources to ensure that it can operate in a safe & appropriate way. Volunteers need to be trained, they require on-going support & the paid staff need to keep up with all the latest developments in HIV / sexual health

          What is your vision of HIV services? Just focus on gay men? No Government funding? No National approach? Do tell!

          1. It makes me laugh that on the one hand Samuel is highly critical of those who have in the past run Charities into the ground, yet when THT takes steps to ensure it is protected form the current financial climate he is also critical – THT only has reserves of just over £6.5Million, much of which is held in trusts because this is what the donors have requested.

            Which is it to be Samuel, run the Charity into the ground (which I suspect is what you want) or safeguard the Charity for future generations? A total opportunist you really should go into Politics Tory Samuel, that to me seems where you would be best suited!

  2. What the story does not cover is that THT together with other sexual health service providers put together a tender response but the contract was awarded to Serco!

    Whilst THT may have fallen out of favour with some gay men, we are now seeing important services being hived off to private sector companies, how can this be better than the service provided by THT et al!

    There are some that have been suggesting that THT is now too impersonal and too big, but how can companies like Serco have the expertise that has been built up by the THT Direct staff.

    We are going to see more cuts with new NHS commissioning arrangements coming into force next April, & more HIV charities that will sadly have to close. The sector is likely to go through a period of consolidation with charities having to work much more collaboratively, which may be advantageous in the longer term.

    Maybe it is a case of be careful what you wish for, who doubt THT’s commitment prevention & service provision.

    1. Correction **for those who doubt THT’s commitment to prevention & service provision.

    2. If services that THT provide, or once provided, are gradually being tendered out to faceless corporations it has only itself to blame for years of financial and managerial mismanagement and fundamental failures in its own governance and ability to apply common sense procedures to ensure positive outcomes for its portfolio of services and HIV prevention initiatives.

      One has to ask what this quango was thinking in recent years in extending its remit to cover all things STI-related – including sexual health one-on-one services for children as young as ten for which it received a £530,000 grant in 2010!

      Clearly THT has overstretched itself:- either that or it knew, via its revolving doors into Whitehall, that the government would be redirecting HIV funding to the likes of Virgin and so has ensured its survival as a general STI charity, in the process betraying HIV-infected gay men dependent on its services as well as the memories of Terence Higgins himself and his pioneering friends.

      1. What you have failed to grasp Samuel is that THT Direct will continue, I was the first to express my concern that a basic service was under threat. I voiced my opinion that THT Direct was a very valuable service & must continue.

        It has survived & those of us who made our voices heard have played some small part in ensuring THT Direct still operates even if it is on a reduced level. What did you do Samuel, as usual jack all I would suggest. Actions always trump fine words in my book!

        1. Yes, THT Direct will continue, but, like many of its services, in a streamlined, striped-down version of what went before.

          Again I ask, HOW does THT justify shafting its client users in this way when it has millions salted away in its prime London property portfolio which, you claim, was set up so that the THT would have funds available to see it through such times that we are now experiencing?

          Isn’t the fact that THT is citing “lack of government” funds proof positive that these millions are NOT being used for the purpose you claim they were intended for, and that it would prefer to see pos folk suffer a deterioration in services than sell just one property and use that money where it’s badly needed?

          Explain to me WHY, if THT now depends on government funding for every initiative it launches, it continues to beg for donations and its gala fund-raising events if that money is NOT being used for the benefit of its clients?

          In which case, whose benefit does its hidden millions serve?

          1. I suggest you read the Charity Reserves section in the audited accounts & you will find all the answers you require. You claim to be the champion of people living with HIV, yet you have often been critical of the money THT spends on services for +ve individuals, you have consistently suggested that charities should not be in receipt of Government funding & you have openly stated that stigma towards HIV positive individuals is a small price to pay. You have no interest in THT service users, just your own irrational fears relating to HIV.

            Once again you are just being opportunistic in your attack on THT – why not attack the Government for these cuts? They are the ones who have pulled the plug & awarded a new contract to Serco. You have often called for THT to lose it’s funding, well you got what you asked for & you still complain! One has to wonder exactly what your agenda here really is!

  3. If they won’t dig deep into their own cash reserves, then may I suggest that THT careerists Nick Partridge, Lisa Power et al take a 50 per cent pay cut in their disproportionately excessive six-figure incomes to fund the shortfall they claim as the reason for axing a service that many depend upon?

    Many were sceptical about THT’s reasons for stealthily snapping up dozens of regional HIV charities across the UK and streamlining and homogenising services to a pale version of what HIV clients were offered previously.

    It is clear where the money that this asset-stripping saved was creamed off too as massive salary increases for executive members and the acquisition of prime London real estate testify.

    Those running HIV Ltd in the UK today continue to grow fat at the expense of the needs of those living day in and day out with HIV, and their abject, wilful failure and indifference to stem the preventable spread of HIV among gay men, which is now at record levels.

    Scandalous!

    1. How many people receive a six figure salary at THT Samuel, that’s your starter for ten? (As a clue I suggest you look at the consolidated accounts for 2011).

      The accounts show a loss of one senior executive position (salary band £60k to £69k), and a head count reduction of 45 WTE. The median salary multiple at THT currently stands at a favourable 3.5 as compared to senior salaries, perhaps you are suggesting that staff at THT get paid too much Samuel?

      Your view that a National Charity can be run on a shoestring is laughable Samuel, & the Trustees are correct to ensure THT has enough reserves to remain viable & those assets are correctly managed to safeguard the longevity of the charity!

    2. Correction:- for “axing” read “downsizing”.

      The THT has in fact axed various there vital services over the years, and many there have been streamlined to provide a pale shadow service of what went before.

  4. Can anyone see politicians working for free? Not even to justify that flawed and nonsensical piece of rhetorical garbage called ‘Big Society’. The government’s neglect was already palpable from the start and is becoming more so as the time progresses, and the most vulnerable are being made to suffer.

    1. And CaMoron dares to mention his disabled son’s death in speeches to his party to further his political career. Go figure where his priorities lie …

  5. How can the Tories sleep at night knowing there cutting vital charity funding that helps groups of people that need help with advice.
    While the Tories run around in there limos!!

  6. No one but fatcat cronies benefit from adding a profit layer to public services – and recent examples have shown those companies chosen via tender to be engaged in varying levels of utter incompetence.

    Why are people who post on PN so consistently furious with the Tory destroy/sell model of public and social services? Gee…let me think….

  7. For the benefit of anyone who takes any notice of the thumbs ratings system, W6_bloke has access to three modes of entry to PN that enables him to override the scoring system and give my postings three thumbs down each time I mention the HIV sector.

    Such obsessive and clearly deranged behaviour would lead some to suspect he is their fully-paid up shill.

    Just saying…

    1. Paranoid as ever Samuel……….as usual you have to resort to personal attack tactics to make your point.

      It never ceases to amaze me that you see conspiracy everywhere, you must by now be suspicious of your own shadow

      Just saying………

  8. GingerlyColors 16 Oct 2012, 7:07am

    How will that ‘central public health helpline’ work? Will it involve dialing an 0900 premium rate number for the privilege of being put through to an automated call centre where you have to select numerous options before being put on hold for ages, after which you get connected to an operator in Bangalore, and that is if you don’t hang up in frustration?
    Cutting funding from a vital service could be a false economy. If people do not get help early then the cost of dealing with the problem when it is too late could end up costing more than the money saved.

  9. Well at least thts legal advisor this year destroyed crusaids compromise agreement from 2004 ! At last

  10. Maybe the £10 -15,000.psyrises posnation staff claim ukc management got after losing £150,000 of hiv money could be donated back to the helpline their slogo was we care do.you as they covered up losing the £150,000 for two years abandoned the clients when the cash had run.out and denied people a voice while obtaining funding to.ensure the.voices of people living with hiv was heard

  11. SERCO will simply sign post all HIV related calls to THT Direct as NHS Direct already does – so the remaining advisers will still have all the calls but none of the Dept of Health funding – and only when enough High risk callers have been infected through a lack of clear, expertise providing advise on PEP and real risk – will any of this prick the governments conscience. These front line cuts have been eroding this Helpline service for years –

    How can a National Helpline function with 4 staff and a handful of unappreciated volunteers?

    W6 is probably a THT executive protecting his salary rather than the people he is paid to. – For Shame

    1. Why would you think I am a THT executive JD? I happen to be a volunteer for THT & for a time was working as part of the generalist team on THT Direct. I now volunteer as a forum moderator on the MyHIV website. As I have previously eluded to in this thread I was very concerned when I heard that the funding had been cut & it was my view that THT should protect the service at all costs.

      For me THT Direct is a core service, I myself often signpost forum users to the service because there are times when having someone to talk to is the best solution for a particular individual. Web based solutions can be very useful but not in every circumstance.

      As you seem to understand the running of THT Direct would you have preferred that the service was entirely cut or continue in it’s present from? It is the DoH (Tory Gov) that are at fault here not THT as an organisation!

    2. Perhaps not exec level just yet, JD, but I get your drift!

      As you point out, “4 staff and a handful of unappreciated volunteers”.

      This is a truly scandalous situation.

      You have patrons like Stephen Fry and Dame Judi Dench giving their time to the THT believing that their help will feed down to those on ground level and benefit people living with HIV.

      Instead the funds they help to raise get lavished on office upgrades for the staff, ever-soaring executive salaries, cars, executive pensions and jollies to HIV conferences in all manner of exotic locations.

      While the guy on the street continues to beg for what few crumbs the THT is prepared to throw his way.

      For THT to throw “4 staff and a handful of unappreciated volunteers” at a national helpline (the clue is in the word “help”) when it is sitting on millions of pounds worth of assets brings to mind the phrase that incorporates the words “p*ss-up” and “brewery”.

      More fool anyone who has ever donated to this self-serving quango!

      1. “Instead the funds they help to raise get lavished on office upgrades for the staff, ever-soaring executive salaries, cars, executive pensions and jollies to HIV conferences in all manner of exotic locations”

        If you are going to make such bold statements Samuel please provide the proof of this. Have you ever been to any THT office, I certainly would not describe Gray’s In n Road as lavish and certainly the other offices around the country are very basic. By all means have a pop Samuel but at least try & back up your arguments with some factual information, rather than relying on your over active imagination.

        I certainly do not feel unappreciated as a volunteer but I can understand that others may feel that way – how typical of you Samuel to jump on the THT Charity bashing bandwagon. Lets face it you are not in favour of any HIV charities…………I suggest you get a life with less meth involved!

  12. Too true Sarah.

    Difficult to comprehend, but the charlatan Bitti was actually subsequently employed by the same NHS department whose funds he inveigled for his own largesse in a display of unbridled greed which precipitated UKC’s downfall!

    You couldn’t make this stuff up, really you couldn’t, but such are the revolving doors that pirouette at 80mph twixt the HIV sector and government departments.

  13. What is there to debate? The last I have read about the UKC debacle is that in 2010 the Police were investigating claims of financial mis-management. At the time no arrests had been made, & from what I read no one was brought to book for the allegations you continue to flood this & other threads with.

    If as you say you have worked in the Charity sector for over 25 years then why are you not outraged by the Government cuts that are taking place…………………..seems to me just like Samuel you are a pseudo supporter of people living with HIV & have nothing better to do than constantly attack the services so many people rely on up & down the Country.

    Shame on both you & Samuel B.

  14. So lets be clear here as Samuel B. suggests that THT is squirreling away funds. I would suggest anyone who is interested read the Trustee Report for 2011/12, which are fully transparent.

    http://www.tht.org.uk/~/media/Files/Our%20Charity/Governance/trustees-2012.ashx

    Headline figures:

    Statuary Income down 11%
    Voluntary income up by 5%
    Profit on sale of Larcome Street 491K (added to reserves)
    Change in Funds decrease of 792K on the previous year.
    Staff costs down by 14%
    Number of high paid exec’s down by 1
    median salary v highest paid 3.5 multiplication.

    THT is in my opinion doing the right thing to safeguard it’s services & therefore the services it provides.

  15. Individual charitable donations were up by 5% people are giving more not less, also I note that the highest salary banding has not increased since 2006/7 that tells me that senior salaries have not increased significantly for at least 5 years!

  16. A serious question/allegation is raised here pertaining to a cash pile belonging to the Trust which it could be using to make up for the shortfall in central funding that is resulting in a curtailing of its services. Acting as spokesperson for the Trust “W6_Bloke” is being less than forthcoming in confirming whether a) the Trust owns a property portfolio, and b) if so why it isn’t cashing this portfolio in to prop up its services in an age of austerity for which presumably such provision was intended for it the first place. Isn’t this something which Pink News should be investigating and getting answers to as there is a distinctive whiff of injustice about the way the Trust raises its own funding on the one hand but then cries poverty the other, although said funding is presumably being invested for a rainy day such as the one the national helpline is suffering?

    1. Age of austerity? Ask Mr CaMoron and his bullyingdom gang if he or any of his millionaire mates are downgrading … go have a closer look on how ‘austere’ their lives are. Ask them if they are selling any of their properties to help to propel their ‘Big Society’ bullsh!t forward. ‘We are all in this together’ my hairy bumside. Now here we are talking about people who are ill and in need government funding. It doesn’t take a genius to realise who is going to suffer when CaMoron diverts this vital help to his group of profiteering mates. If you want to find a whiff of injustice go to the biggest casino parlour in the country, called Westminster parliament under usurped Tory administration.

    2. With all due respect Simon I am not acting as a spokesman for the trust – I am referring to information that is available in the current Trustee report. As at the end of financial year 2011/12 the cash pile or “assets” are shown as follows:

      Fixed Assets £9.5Million (prev yr £12.3million) – reduction of £2.8million
      Current assets £5.2million (prev yr £4.4million) – gain of 800k
      Total assets £14.7million (prev yr £16.7million) – reduction of £2million
      Total liabilities £-6.6million (prev yr £-9.2million) reduction of £2.6million
      Net assets £8.1million (prev yr £7.5million) increase of 600k
      Pension liability £1.6million (prev yr 120k) increase of £1.4million
      Net Assets £6.5million (prev yr £7.3million) A DECREASE IN ASSETS OF 800k

      THT’s fixed assets are held mainly in property, but as we see the fixed assets have seen a £2.8million reduction over the financial year 2011/12. I think this clearly shows THT have acted appropriately in the circumstances.

      1. Thanks for responding. It doesn’t quite explain why as a registered charity the Trust is so dependent on statutory funding to keep core services running when it does raise significant funds of its own, and I am a little bamboozled by all the figures to say the least. But it would be a gesture were the Trust to make up the downfall in running costs for the helpline; indeed a perfect PR move to quash the strength of bad feeling it constantly appears to generate.

        1. Simon if you are not completely satisfied with my answer then why not acquaint yourself with the Trustees report & get a flavour for how THT is funded – the majority of “third sector” organisations are funded by Government, this is because they are contracted to undertake work on behalf of the DoH & regional bodies.

          Bearing in mind the cuts to THTd do not show in the current accounts an astute observer will see that “current assets” have increased by 800k, which no doubt will be used in this financial year to offset funding cuts.

          THT continues to fund the helpline to the best of its ability, given the scale of financial uncertainty the charity or third sector is facing under this Government. Surely it is right that the Trustees hold on to sufficient reserves to ensure it can survive in the long term – whilst being a vital service the helpline is one of a number of core projects THT wishes to continue with into the foreseeable future.

          1. Perhaps if you are interested in the running of THT then you should become a voting member with a view to being a Trustee – at least then you will have your finger in the pulse & be able to keep tabs on the money & hold the executive to account.

            Actions speak louder than words do they not?

  17. I hear you Sarah, I hear you!!

  18. Who are these people with AIDS? You are either being incredibly insensitive in describing people who are HIV positive as having AIDS, or you are plain ignorant – either way you demonstrate that you are totally out of touch with reality as is demonstrated by your ramblings in this & other threads.

    What a disgrace!

  19. I note that Samuel has not attempted to answer a single question I have posed to him – instead he deflects & avoids the real issues. This just shows he has no real interest in the subject of this thread other than to continue his one man crusade against all HIV charities.

    I do so hope that there never comes a time when HE may need to rely on THT et al…………..and to think my donations in time & money could be contributing to part of a service he may have to rely upon!

    A shameless opportunist as can be seen written everywhere in these comments threads, even comparing the Hillsborough tragedy to the failed HIV charity UKC – that truly is scandalous (to use his rhetoric).

    1. W6, do you honestly think were ever the time you so fervently long for to arrive that I would turn to the THT for help and advice when they work to an agenda as set down in accordance with their pharma partners?

      And are you seriously suggesting for one moment that I would want to slowly poison my body ingesting the synthetic, toxic treatments they insist must be taken to stay alive?

      Are you frigging mad?

      No way!

      I would sooner take my chances restoring my immune system via natural and holistic methods – regardless of whether such methods are known to work or not – as I have treated all my maladies so far thank you very much.

      And there are people who have survived HIV infection as far back as the 1980s still alive today who have adopted a similar approach to their health.

      Perhaps you ought to too, then you wouldn’t suffer such obvious unpleasant side effects such as delirium, deluded righteousness and unpredictable bouts of anger and aggression.

      1. I think you are the one who is deluded but hey that is your choice. You should allow others to make their own choices instead of consistently denying HIV the advances in HIV treatment & care in the UK.

        Your agenda to discredit all HIV charities is disgraceful, your claims are all unsubstantiated & it is clear you have little real interest in the welfare of +ve individuals.

        You & your cronies are welcome to your views but as I have said before I will always provide balance by presenting an evidence based argument.

        This thread has as usual turned into a farce, so that is me done on the subject, you trolls can feed yourselves!

  20. I assume you are referring to the devastating litany of abuses and failings within the HIV sector as chronicled on the web site http://www.lifeormeth.co.uk.

    Truly a damning indictment and one that deserves a wider airing for sure…

  21. I have been complaining about Tht for years to anyone who will (or mostly won’t ) listen, I sent all the top execs emails that in any other walk of life would be considered slanderous. Hey its only slander if its not true though, Tht execs= parasitic scumbags.

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