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Welfare Reform on the Web (July 2010): Mental health services - UK

The birds and the bees

H. Clarke and M. Cropley

Learning Disability Today, Feb./Mar. 2010, p. 18-21

People with learning disabilities have sexual needs but in many cases these desires are not supported or recognised. In the past, they have been largely ignored. This article reports the results of a quantitative study which explored the attitudes of paid carers, family carers, and the general public in England towards the sexuality of people with learning disabilities. Results showed that paid carers are more open towards the sexuality of people with learning disabilities than family carers. Thus, as well as educating individuals with learning difficulties about forming sexual relationships, there is also a need to inform and update family carers.

Child and adolescent mental health services: an operational handbook, 2nd ed.

G. Richardson, I. Partridge and J. Barrett (editors)

London: RCPsych Publications, 2010

This book details the methods of developing a structure and strategy for providing child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) in accordance with the six principles of CAMHS provision: accessibility; multidisciplinary approaches; comprehensiveness; integration; development and change; and accountability. It explains in straightforward operational terms the principles and practicalities of how to deliver services for many different client groups and in many different settings. This second edition has been considerably updated and expanded in the light of recent government policy.

Estimated cost of a health visitor-led protocol for perinatal mental health

Y. Oluboyede and others

Community Practitioner, vol. 83, June 2010, p. 22-25

Anecdotally, protocols, care pathways, and clinical guidelines are time consuming to develop and sustain, but there is little research about the actual cost of their development, use and audit. A case study research design was used to calculate the resource use costs of a protocol for perinatal mental health, part of the core programme for health visitors in a primary care trust in the west of England. The total estimated cost of staff time over a five year period (2004-2008) was 73,598, comprising 36, 162 (49%) for development and 37,436 (51%) for implementation. When new protocols, care pathways or clinical guidelines are proposed, the costs need to be considered and weighed against the benefits of involving frontline staff in service improvements.

Just imagine

S. Gillen

Learning Disability Today, Feb./Mar. 2010, p. 34-35

Presents two case studies of the imaginative and unconventional ways in which people with learning disabilities and their families are using their individual budgets to improve their lives.

Like falling off a cliff ...

A. Kaehne and C. O'Connell

Learning Disability Today, Feb./Mar. 2010, p. 22-23

Too little attention has been paid to the transition of young people with learning disabilities from paediatric to adult healthcare services. Young people and their parents describe the transition as traumatic and many experience fragmented services and ongoing battles for support and care. Problems include:

  1. different service models used in adult and children's health services
  2. different eligibility criteria
  3. the rift between social care and the health sector.

(For problems with transition experienced by young people from BME groups, see Learning Disability Today, Feb./Mar. 2010, p. 24-25)

People need people

A. Holman

Learning Disability Today, Feb./Mar. 2010, p. 14-17

Like all human beings, people with learning disabilities need a circle of friends, to form relationships outside of their family, and to have a sex life. However, there is evidence that large numbers of people with learning disabilities have limited opportunities to build and maintain social networks and friendships. Stars in the Sky, a dating agency for people with learning disabilities, and Learning Disability Today are joining forces in a campaign to support people to develop and sustain friendships.

Patients with learning disabilities mistreated, NHS staff say

The Guardian, Jun. 21st 2010, p. 8

In an opinion poll of 1,000 NHS staff by Mencap, which campaigns on behalf of people with learning disabilities, almost half of doctors and a third of nurses revealed they witnessed a patient with a learning disability being treated 'with neglect or a lack of dignity or receiving poor quality care'. There are about 1.5 million people in Britain with learning disabilities, the most widely known is Down's syndrome.

Where to draw the line?

R. Mair

Learning Disability Today, Feb./Mar. 2010, p. 10-11

The Vetting and Barring Scheme for people working with children and vulnerable adults set up by the Labour government came in for much criticism. This article explores the implications of the scheme for people with learning disabilities and their carers. There were concerns that the scheme could undermine people's independence, and would place a burden on carers when guidelines stated that it is at their discretion whether or not to get someone vetted. It would also not have prevented people barred from working with children working with vulnerable adults, and vice versa.

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