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Welfare Reform on the Web (April 2009): Mental health services - UK

Commissioning services for people with learning disabilities in Scotland: linking evidence and practice

M. Campbell

British Journal of Learning Disabilities, vol. 37, 2009, p. 28-33

This paper describes the development of practical guidance for people involved in commissioning services for individuals with learning disabilities. The guidance is based on seven steps with a number of associated key questions. It aims to inform commissioners about available research evidence and good practice, and provide a method for recording the basis on which commissioners make decisions about models of care in a way that can be shared with others.

Copying letters to service users with learning disabilities: opinions of service users, carers and professionals working within learning disability services

T. Hovey and C. Cheswick

British Journal of Learning Disabilities, vol. 37, 2009, p. 50-55

The NHS Plan of 2000 made a commitment that patients should be able to receive a copy of clinicians' letters about them as a right in order to improve communication. Social workers in South Gloucestershire canvassed the opinions of stakeholders about the issue of copying letters to service users with learning difficulties using questionnaires and focus groups. Results showed that professionals need to:

  • Make sure that service users know that they have a right to receive copies of letters written about them
  • Put systems is place to help service users decide whether or not they wish to see the letters
  • Help service users keep the information secure
  • Support service users who want to share information about their health with carers.

Implications of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 for adult health and social care providers

J. Wearing and J. Lloyd

Journal of Care Services Management, vol. 3, 2009, p. 196-203

This article looks at the challenges presented to care home managers and home care service providers by the implementation of the Mental Capacity Act 2005. It uses case studies to illustrate how the Act should be applied in practice, and explores changes to the regulatory framework with reference to the roles of the Commission for Social Care Inspection, the new Court of Protection and the Office of the Public Guardian. It identifies practical steps that managers need to take to comply, particularly in relation to policies, procedures, training and contracts.

Independence and learning disabilities: why we must also recognise vulnerability

R. Fyson

Journal of Integrated Care, vol.17, Feb. 2009, p.3-8

Services for people with learning difficulties in the UK have been shaped in recent years by the promotion of choice, independence and social integration. However, there also needs to be recognition that adults with learning difficulties are very vulnerable to abuse. This article considers whether current plans to transform adult social care through the use of self-directed support and individual budgets offer a safe future.

Investigation reveals appalling neglect by NHS of people with learning disabilities

J. Carvel

The Guardian, Mar. 24th 2009, p. 4

An investigation by the Health and Local Government Ombudsmen has revealed appalling errors in the care of mentally disabled patients who, despite being admitted to hospital with treatable illnesses, died while in NHS care. One patient was not fed by NHS staff for 26 days and died of starvation following admission for a stroke. The investigation followed complaints against two local authorities and seven NHS trusts involved in six deaths between 2003 and 2005. The Healthcare Commission was also criticised for failing to deal appropriately with complaints.

Northern exposure

J. Cosh

Mental Health Today, Mar. 2009, p. 16-18

Compulsory community treatment orders for people with serious mental health problems have been in place in Scotland since 2005 and research findings about them have been generally positive. However, this has not allayed concerns among activists about their introduction in England and Wales by the Mental Health Act 2007.

SESAMI study of employment support for people with severe mental health problems: 12-month outcomes

J. Schneider and others

Health and Social Care in the Community, vol. 17, 2009, p. 151-158

In the context of UK policy to promote the employment of disabled people as a means to greater social inclusion, this study investigated how people with severe mental health problems fare in existing supported employment agencies. The study aimed to identify factors associated with successful placement in work and to test the impact of working on psychological well-being. One hundred and fifty-five users of six English agencies were followed up for one year (2005-06). Results showed the benefits of working for this group in the shape of increased financial satisfaction and self-esteem. They support the development of employment services with an individualised, rapid placement approach, linked to job centre advice and expert mental health service input.

Welsh lessons

A. James

Mental Health Today, Mar. 2009, p. 10-11

The Welsh Assembly published a draft action plan to reduce incidence of suicide and self-harm in November 2008. The plan takes a comprehensive, societal approach to suicide prevention and self-harm among people of all ages. This article reports briefly on how public services are gearing up to deliver the plan.

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