Click here to skip to content

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

The 'British policy style' and mental health: beyond the headlines

P. Cairney

Journal of Social Policy, vol. 38, 2009, p. 671-688

The normal UK policymaking style in mental health is consensual, as demonstrated by the process leading up to the passage of the Mental Capacity Act 2005. However, the UK government diverged from its normal practice in the case of the Mental Health Act 2007, when it rejected any negotiated settlement with interest groups and attempted to impose measures based on public safety rather than patients' rights. This alienated most groups and the stand off between groups and government was not resolved through bureaucratic accommodation. The UK government's approach is contrasted with that of the Scottish government in the lead up to the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003, where the consultation process was consensual and produced high levels of stakeholder 'ownership'.

Grand designs

A. James

Mental Health Today, Oct. 2009, p. 10-13

The design of a mental health unit is vital to facilitate a safe and therapeutic environment. Since 1992 more than 2bn has been spent in England on renewing the mental health estate. This article presents case studies of how innovative design is improving the patient experience, focusing on new units in Norwich and Crawley.

Incapacity court 'treats families like criminals'

R. Alleyne

Daily Telegraph, Oct. 26th 2009, p. 15

The Court of Protection was introduced to hear cases involving people who lack capacity to manage their own affairs, but have not drawn up an advance directive nominating a friend or relative to take control of their assets. The court dealt with 23,000 cases in its first year of operation, and received 2,312 complaints.

Mental health policy in Northern Ireland: the nature and extent of user involvement

D. Heenan

Social Policy and Society, vol. 8, 2009, p. 451-462

This paper reviews mental health policy in Northern Ireland, which has undergone a period of unprecedented activity, and explores the extent to which service users have influenced the process of policy design and development. Historically, mental health services have been under-resourced, over-stretched and reactive. The focus has been on crisis management and firefighting, with service user involvement regarded as additional to the core work of professionals. While much has been said about the value of service user engagement, to date there have been very few tangible changes in the process of designing and delivering services.

Mental health practitioners' role in supporting people maintain their jobs

M. Boyce, H. Lockett and J. Bacon

Mental Health Today, Oct. 2009, p. 23-25

Unemployment is detrimental to mental health and well-being, but people with mental health problems are most at risk of falling out of the labour market. It is easier to help someone with mental health problems retain an existing job, or move from one job to another, than to reinsert them into the labour market after a significant period of unemployment. Mental health practitioners working in primary care have an important role in working with individuals to help them remain in employment and retain their jobs. It is important to ensure that work is an integral part of local mental health services.

Mental health: providing routes to the labour market

H. Lockett, J. Bacon and B. Grove

Working Brief, Sept. 2009, p. 17-19

There is now a well established international consensus that Individual Placement and Support (IPS) is the most effective way of reinserting people with severe and enduring mental illness into the labour market. The authors consider how this evidence-based approach could be embedded in policy and practice in the UK.

Social work with people with learning difficulties. 2nd ed.

P. Williams

Exeter: Learning Matters, 2009

The book focuses on the positive aspects of working with people with learning difficulties. Current practice in the field is driven by the government White Paper Valuing People (2001) which declared radical aims for services for people with learning difficulties. This revised second edition includes key updates on this White Paper and provides an up-to-date evaluation of the progress made towards those aims. Using case studies, activities and further reading to reinforce learning, the book explores an important area of social work practice and examines the varied roles social workers might undertake including the achievements and satisfaction of working with service users with learning difficulties and challenges.

Supporting people with autism through adulthood

Public Accounts Committee

London: TSO, 2009 (House of Commons papers, session 2008/09: HC 697)

Adults with autism may require support across health and social care, housing, education, and employment. However, the transition of young people with autism from children's to adult services is currently not managed effectively. The effectiveness of services for adults with autism could be improved by raising levels of knowledge and awareness amongst decision-makers and service providers. More specifically, there is scope to provide targeted services for adults with high-functioning autism, which could improve quality of life for people with autism and their carers, as well as potentially reducing costs to the public purse. The Department of Health is currently developing an adult autism strategy for publication in 2010. The strategy should address the need for government departments to work together when supporting groups with specialised or complex needs. The National Audit Office should carry out a further, more wide-ranging study to identify where barriers exist to closer joint working, at a national and local level, for the delivery of services for such groups, for example where costs are borne by one department but benefits fall elsewhere.

What mental health service users want

J. Taylor

Health Service Journal, Sept. 24th 2009, p. 22-23

Mental health service users want NHS staff to acknowledge that they have a life outside their symptoms. That means offering help with housing, jobs and financial matters. Trusts can form links with job agencies which specialise in finding work for disabled people, work to encourage education institutions to accept service users as students, and have welfare rights officers attached to community mental health teams. Trusts also need to develop a variety of routes through which service users can communicate their views and direct their care.

Search Welfare Reform on the Web