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Welfare Reform on the Web (March 2011): Mental health services - UK

Anti-social behaviour orders and young people with learning disabilities

R. Fyson and J. Yates

Critical Social Policy, vol. 31, 2011, p. 102-125

This paper sets out to critically explore the use of anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs) with young people with learning disabilities. It brings together an emerging body of evidence that these vulnerable young people are over-represented among those made subject to ASBOs. It provides a critique of existing practice within both welfare and criminal justice agencies that is typified by a lack of understanding of learning disability. It suggests that approaches which fail to address the underlying difficulties faced by young people with learning disabilities are unlikely to produce positive outcomes.

Exploring advocacy for people with learning disabilities

L. Tilley

Learning Disability Today, Dec. 2010, p. 30-31

Advocacy has been a central platform of government learning disability and personalisation policies over the past decade. Advocacy plays an important role in supporting people with learning disabilities to 'have a voice', but there has been little research into its practice. This article reports on an 18 month research project which explored the operation of two advocacy organisations in the Southeast of England, focusing on their practice with people with learning disabilities. Both groups relied on local statutory funding. However, this support is tied to contracts with bodies with a range of priorities, some of which conflict with the espoused aims of the advocacy organisations. National policy is also supporting an increased focus on measuring the impact of advocacy. There are concerns that advocacy organisations will struggle to maintain their vision in the face of increasingly tightly-defined contracts.

Hospitals forced to turn away mentally ill as NHS struggles with budget cuts

S. Lister and M. Bowers

The Times, Feb. 1st 2011, p. 14

NHS mental health trusts are saving money by reducing the number of beds, refusing treatment and sending a growing number of people back to community services only for them to end up being sectioned when they reach crisis point and become a danger to themselves or others. There is a drive to encourage and enhance community-based mental health services following the last government's 1999 mental health strategy. A new mental health strategy with 300-400 million of new funds for 'talking therapies' to help 1.2 million NHS patients deal with conditions such as work related stress, anxiety and depression is to be announced on 2nd February. The full cost to the economy of mental ill-health is estimated at 105 billion a year. The care services minister wants NHS commissioners to understand that a disproportionate reduction in mental health spending is not an intelligent option. Not spending on early identification, intervention and quality community treatment is a false economy, which will inevitably lead to more individuals in crisis and requiring hospital treatment.

Housing-based support: a successful alternative to secure accommodation for people who have learning disabilities and have offended

A. Olsen and S. Heaton

Journal of Learning Disabilities and Offending Behaviour, vol. 2, Jan. 2011, p. 16-25

Services for offenders with learning disabilities are normally provided in secure and medium secure units . This paper presents an alternative approach, based on provision of supported housing in the community and development of valued social roles for this vulnerable group. A team of floating support workers helps clients to set up home and manage their tenancy. Once people are managing their tenancies effectively, the team tries to find positive daytime activities for them, including employment and college courses.

Include us in!

J. Snell

Learning Disability Today, Dec. 2010, p. 14-15

Ten years have passed since the ground-breaking service user consultation with people with learning disabilities that helped shape the Valuing People White Paper published in Spring 2001. This article asks members of the original service user group if people with learning disabilities are now more included in mainstream society. There are concerns that the expectations raised have not been completely fulfilled, and that service user involvement is sometimes tokenistic.

Mental health and the productivity challenge: improving quality and value for money

C. Naylor and A. Bell

King's Fund, 2010

This report describes the main opportunities for cost savings in mental health service delivery and gives guidance for commissioners and service providers on how productivity in mental health care can be improved. It identifies three areas which should be immediate priorities for commissioners: reducing unnecessary bed use; reducing out of area treatments; and improving the interface between mental and physical healthcare.

Mental patients 'trapped' by abuse of forced drugs regime

S. Lister, M. Bowers and A. Asthana

The Times, Feb. 2nd 2011, p. 14

Compulsory Treatment Orders (CTOs), which were introduced in 2009 to make sure the mentally ill take the drugs prescribed for them when they leave hospital, are trapping some patients in drug programmes they may not want or need.

Stretched to the limit

J. Dunning

Community Care, Feb. 3rd 2011, p. 22-23

There is evidence that the 2008/09 recession pushed up demand for mental health services. These are now facing budget cuts from both the NHS and local authority social services. With councils facing deeper budget cuts than the NHS, there are fears that community services for people with moderate mental health problems could be worst hit, leading to people's condition deteriorating.

Therapy for children to help prevent lifelong mental illness

D. Brindle

The Guardian, Feb. 2nd 2011, p. 15

Children and teenagers who show signs of anxiety and depression are to be offered talking therapies, including cognitive behavioural therapies (CBT), in an overhaul of mental healthcare for young people that will aim to prevent life-long illness. The move follows a five year investment programme that has seen short term psychological therapies developed for adults across 60% of the country. More than 70,000 people are believed to have 'recovered' from illness and 14,000 have moved off sick pay and benefits. The new strategy will earmark 400m for extending the adult programme across England by 2015 and for developing an equivalent treatment model for children.

(See also Times, Feb. 3rd 2011, p. 21; Independent, Feb. 2nd 2011, p. 17)

Will the new system mean more or less access to health care?

A. Holman

Community Living, vol.24, no.2, 2010, p. 8-10

Under reforms being introduced by the coalition government, GP consortia will take over responsibility from primary care trusts for commissioning health services for their local populations from any willing provider. This article considers the implications of the reforms for people with learning difficulties. People will need good quality, accessible information to be able to take advantage of the greater choice and control offered to patients under the reforms. They will also need to get involved in local commissioning decisions and influence the GP consortia to ensure that adequate services are offered.

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