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Welfare Reform on the Web (December 2008): Mental health services - UK

Are partnership boards really valuing people?

C. Riddington, J. Mansell and J. Beadle-Brown

Disability and Society, vol.23, 2008, p. 649-665

Observations were conducted in three county councils to find out whether the government's ambition to develop Learning Disability Partnership Boards is being realised. All the partnerships practiced various inclusive activities to involve people with learning disabilities in strategic decisions about public services. However their participation in decision-making was in fact superficial. Much of the time they spent at Partnership Board meetings was devoted to receiving information or feedback and few decisions were in reality made.

The future cost of mental health care

S. Lawton-Smith

British Journal of Healthcare Management, vol. 14, 2008, p. 441-445

The current cost to the NHS of mental health services is 9.1bn, by far the most expensive of all disease categories. The cost of health, social care and informal mental health care is 22.5bn, estimated to have risen to 26bn in 2026. Prevalence rates in England for all mental disorders within all age groups are likely to remain broadly stable over the next twenty years. However, reflecting the expected increase in population, the number of people in England who experience a mental health problem is due to increase by around 1.2m by 2026. A number of service interventions might lead to reductions in costs. Primary care trusts should commission more evidence-based interventions for people with depression and anxiety disorders. For schizophrenic and bipolar disorders, they should maintain and expand commissioning of crisis interventions and early intervention services. Initiatives both to prevent mental disorders in high-risk groups and to promote good mental health across communities could lower future prevalence rates, leading to significant savings. However, this work is seriously under-funded and more research is needed to demonstrate its cost-effectiveness.

Mental health goes mainstream

A. Gulland

Children & Young People Now, Nov 6th-12th 2008, p.22-23

The government has caught up with the work that Jackie Colley (commissioning manager for child and adolescent mental health services) and her colleagues in Derby have undertaken. Since 2005 the local authority has been running multi-agency training courses in mental health for everyone in the city working with children's services. The interim report on CAMHS published in the summer of 2008 said: 'child development and approaches to improving mental health and psychological well-being should be a specific aspect of training' for anyone who comes into contact with children an young people as part of their job. The government is expected to flag the course in Derby as an example of good practice in the forthcoming CAMHS review. From 2004 Derby council and primary care trust have prioritised efforts to increase awareness of mental health problems that the entire children's workforce have to deal with, and the council commissioned Young-Minds, a charity working to improve young people's mental health, to develop a tailored two-day course. Colley agrees that any organisations wanting to follow Derby's lead should ensure that commissioners of CAMHS are behind them and that partnerships are strong.

Obesity leaves eating disorders in the shade

A. Moore

Health Service Journal, Nov. 20th 2008, p. 14-15

Provision for treatment of patients with eating disorders such as anorexia is patchy and inadequate, with some areas paying only lip service to National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidelines. Mental health services are increasingly concentrating on patients perceived as a risk to others rather than to themselves alone, and there can be long delays accessing specialist treatment.

Peace broker in a turf war

D. Hayes

Community Care, Oct. 16th 2008, p. 32-33

Report of an interview with Anne Williams, the new learning disabilities tsar for England in which she discusses the turf war between health services and adult care and how joint working can be facilitated. She will be in charge of implementing Valuing People Now, the Department of Health's strategy for developing learning disability services and tackling inconsistencies in how they are organised and funded in different parts of the country.

Ritalin: there is an alternative

A.U. Sale

Community Care, Oct. 16th 2008, p. 18-19

New guidance discourages GP s from prescribing Ritalin for school-age children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The guidance recommends training programmes for parents and carers of young people with the condition, as well as psychological interventions for the children themselves.

Scrutiny of mental health legislation: government response to the Committee's sixteenth report of session 2007-08

Joint Committee on Human Rights

London: TSO, 2008 (House of Commons papers, session 2007/08: HC 1079)

The Government has reviewed its right not to implement all or part of the Council of Europe Recommendation 2004 (10) concerning the protection of the human rights and dignity of persons with mental disorders. There are some points of detail in the recommendation which are not wholly compatible with UK legislation and where the approach taken in UK legislation is to be preferred. They are as follows:

  • Articles 17 & 18 - criteria for involuntary placement and treatment.
  • Article 20 - procedures for taking decisions on involuntary placement and/or involuntary treatment, Article 24 - termination of involuntary placement and/or involuntary treatment.
  • Article 28 - specific treatments
  • Article 37 - specific requirements for monitoring

Treatment orders leave carers anxious

A. Mickel

Community Care, Oct. 30th 2008, p. 28-29

There are fears that some of the measures in the Mental Health Act 2007 may increase the burden on carers when they come into force on November 3rd 2008. There are concerns that carers may be insufficiently involved in planning supervised community treatment of people with mental health problems. This may lead to discharged mental patients being dumped on carers with inadequate professional support.

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