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Welfare Reform on the Web (November 2007): Mental health services - UK

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: the case for widening access to primary mental health care and opportunities for new ways of working.

A. Blakemore and C. Baguley

Journal of Mental Health Workforce Development, vol. 2, June 2007, p. 3-11

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) sufferers frequently experience common mental disorders such as anxiety, depression and panic attacks. This paper looks at how the agenda for widening access to psychological therapies delivered through a stepped model of care and the introduction of new mental health workforce roles such as community matrons and primary care graduate mental health workers provide an opportunity for primary care services to integrate mental health care into chronic disease management of COPD. This may provide a model for the development of services for other long term conditions.

Delivering the government's mental health policies: services, staffing and costs

J. Boardman and M. Parsonage

London: Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health, 2007

The report offers a detailed assessment of what needs to be done to deliver the standards set out in the National Service Framework for Mental Health in terms of service provision, staffing and funding. It is concluded that, while substantial extra resources have been made available for mental health care since the publication of the Service Framework, these are unlikely to be sufficient for the full implementation of policy within the 10-year timescale originally envisaged.

Developing partnerships with carers through good practice in information-sharing

V. Pinfold, J. Rapaport and S. Bellringer

Mental Health Review Journal, vol. 12, June 2007, p. 7-14

Lay carers are an important part of the mental health system, but their role and contribution is often undervalued by mental health professionals and mental health services. In this article the authors use the example of information-sharing in mental health to illustrate some of the difficulties experienced by mental health carers engaging with a mental health system and individual practitioners who do not view the family and significant others as 'partners in care'. The findings of a survey, in which views were sought on poor information sharing as a barrier to engagement with mental health services, are reported.

Developing the mental health workforce capacity in primary care: implementing the role of graduate primary care mental health workers in England

D. Rushforth and others

Journal of Mental Health Workforce Development, vol. 2, June 2007, p. 42-49

This paper examines the process of commissioning the graduate primary care mental health workforce in England. It covers the commissioning of training at higher education institutions, service user involvement in training, funding issues, and the role of graduate primary care mental health workers in improving access to psychological therapies.

Does doctor know best?

M. Fitzpatrick, D. Turner and S. Burnett

Community Care, Oct. 11th 2007, p. 30-32

There is concern that people with learning difficulties encounter indifference and discrimination when using NHS services. Three frontline doctors respond to the charge that the NHS is guilty of institutional discrimination against patients with learning difficulties.

The Expert Patients Programme (EPP): a resource for GPs treating chronic disease and co-existing common mental health problems

A. Turner and J. Barlow

Mental Health Review Journal, vol. 12, June 2007, p. 4-6

Patients with chronic physical health conditions such as arthritis or multiple sclerosis experience high rates of common mental health problems such as depression and anxiety because of fatigue, pain and uncertainty about future deterioration. This article highlights the potential of the Expert Patients Programme, an existing intervention informed by cognitive behavioural therapy theories and methods, for treating primary care chronic disease patients with mild to moderate anxiety or depression.

Mental arithmetic

V. Russell

Public Finance, Sept. 28th-Oct. 4th 2007, p. 16-19

The government has invested in improving mental health services over the past five years, and is expanding access to psychological therapies in order to help people with mental health problems return to work. However, people with mental health problems still need more housing support to enable them to sustain tenancies, especially if they also misuse drugs and/or alcohol. There is also concern about the recent introduction of enforced treatment in the community and a change in the terms under which someone can be compulsorily detained in hospital.

The Mental Capacity Act, the Office of the Public Guardian and the new Court of Protection

Y. Gearty

Journal of Adult Protection, vol. 9, Aug. 2007, p. 39-46

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 created a new Office of the Public Guardian to replace the Public Guardianship Office. The Public Guardian and his staff supervise and regulate those appointed to make decisions on behalf of people who lack capacity. His statutory functions include powers and responsibilities to:

  • Regulate and supervise decision makers (deputies) appointed by the Court of Protection
  • Register Enduring and Lasting Powers of Attorney
  • Lead policy development in relation to mental capacity issues

Older and out

J. Snell

Community Care, Oct. 4th 2007, p. 28-29

The number of people with learning difficulties surviving into old age is rising. In some parts of the country they are switched from learning disabilities services to the older people's service when they reach 65. Because of lack of funding for community care packages, some are being inappropriately moved into residential retirement homes.

Short-term contracts hamper take-off for advocacy services

S. Gillen and C. Lovell

Community Care, Sept. 27th 2007, p. 4-5

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 requires local authorities and NHS trusts to appoint an independent mental capacity advocate to represent service users who have no family or friends and who may lack capacity through dementia, brain injury or learning disability to make decisions for themselves. A survey of 28 councils across England has shown that 14 contracts for Independent Mental Capacity Advocate services were for one year only, and that just seven providers had been awarded one lasting three years. This short term funding is making the development of the new service difficult.

Spread the word

D. Callaghan

Community Care, Oct. 11th 2007, p. 18-19

There is growing interest in the UK in making talking therapies available to children and young people with common mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. However, availability is limited by lack of funding and training opportunities.

Targets of hate crime

S. Gillen

Community Care, Sept. 27th 2007, p. 28-29

People with learning disabilities living in the community can become victims of bullying and violence. Others are seen as easy pickings by people who 'befriend' them and then go on to use their homes, eat their food, or steal their money. Overstretched adult services are not providing the support people need, and police performance is patchy.

Therapy by computer

M. Hunter

Community Care, Oct. 25th 2007, p.24-25

Government guidance promised that computerised cognitive behavioural therapy for patients with common mental illnesses would be offered in every primary care trust in England. However, uptake has been patchy and slow.

What is the role of a hospital service user's representative scheme for promoting service user involvement in mental health care delivery?

S. Haswell and D. Bailey

Journal of Mental Health Workforce Development, vol. 2, June 2007, p. 12-22

The Service User Representative Scheme was established in Northumberland, Newcastle and North Tyneside Mental Health Trust in 1996 to meet an increasing need for the service user voice to be heard within the organisation. Representatives, who have themselves experienced mental health services, are recruited by the Trust and trained as volunteers. Their role is to visit allocated wards on an agreed regular basis, to establish and build up relationships with service users and ward staff, to listen and identify issues of concern, and to work with staff and service users to facilitate positive solutions. This paper reports on an evaluation of the scheme.

Working with the independent sector and managing out of area treatments

T. Ryan and M. Rayne

Mental Health Review Journal, vol. 12, June 2007, p. 25-29

The independent sector is being actively encouraged to deliver all forms of mental health care in conjunction with statutory agencies in England. Both the not-for-profit and for-profit sectors are working alongside and also in competition with the NHS. Research in recent years has shown that placements into the independent sector often suffer poor CPA (Care Pathways Approach) co-ordination, can be variable in quality and total a significant proportion of the mental health budget. Linkage between providers, commissioners and area of origin services can be limited, with poor consideration of users' rights. This paper describes how agencies in the West Midlands responded to these problems.

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