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Welfare Reform on the Web (January 2012): Mental health services - UK

Evaluation of a structured assessment framework to enable adherence to the requirements of Mental Capacity Act 2005

L. Ramasubramanian, N. Ranasinghe and J. Ellison

British Journal of Learning Disabilities, vol. 39, 2011, p.314-320

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 provides a statutory framework to empower and protect vulnerable people who are not able to make their own decisions. An audit set out to explore the quality, thoroughness and practice of how mental capacity and issues around consent, best interests and final care plan decisions were assessed and documented in a specialist learning disabilities unit. The results showed that staff were not consistently applying the rules set out in the Mental Capacity Act. Using a structured assessment framework or checklist helped staff make decisions on behalf of people with learning disabilities in a way that better met the requirements of the Act.

Lessons from the Mental Health Act Commission for England and Wales: the limitations of legalism-plus-safeguards

D. Pilgrim

Journal of Social Policy, vol. 41, 2012, p. 61-81

This article has four main aims. First it explains briefly the function and historical context of the Mental Health Act Commission for England and Wales, which existed between 1984 and 2009. Data from the final biennial report of the Commission, which focused on coercion and consent, are then used to provide a snapshot of the relationship between social group membership (correlated with race, age and gender) and mental health status in modern British society. The next section considers material adversity as an underlying factor in determining the emergence and re-emergence of mental health problems in society. Finally, in the light of evidence of the social patterning of mental health problems furnished by the Commission, the limited power of state-appointed visitorial bodies, with their human rights approach, to mitigate the adverse impact of state-sanctioned coercion or to reverse the pathogenic role of social forces is discussed.

Mental health

E. Dent (editor)

Health Service Journal, Dec. 1st 2011, supplement, 8p

The coalition's mental health strategy was designed to put mental health treatment on the same footing as physical illness and to end stigma. However, by the end of 2011 concern was growing about lack of progress in implementing it. It appeared that service commissioning would be left to local Clinical Commissioning Groups without any guidance on priorities and that budgets held by local authorities for support services such as tailored housing were disappearing. Other articles cover approaches to helping people with mental health problems to keep their jobs or re-enter the labour market, and to delivering mental health services in primary care.

Our survey said

S. Islam

Mental Health Today, Nov./Dec. 2011, p. 34-35

Mental health service providers mainly depend on national surveys for information about the quality of the user experience. This does not cast light on the performance of particular teams or individuals, as the data is usually aggregated for the entire trust. To address these shortfalls, Bradford District Care Trust installed touch screens and hand held technologies in most settings to collect feedback. Through this approach it has gained significant insights into what service users think about all aspects of the service.

Personality disorders

T. Burns

Mental Health Today, Nov./Dec. 2011, p. 23-25

Personality disorders are treatable, but the route to treatment is complex, protracted, challenging and requires engagement and a willingness to bring about change from each service user. Delivery of an integrated service network and shared operational philosophy to enhance treatment and outcomes, and capitalise on the service development work undertaken to date, is a logical next step and is gaining momentum.

Promoting service user inclusion in risk assessment and management: a pilot project developing a human rights-based approach

B. Greenhill and R. Whitehead

British Journal of Learning Disabilities, vol.39, 2011, p. 277-283

Recent reports highlight the extent to which people with learning disabilities are denied access to their human rights. In addition, traditional approaches to risk management often focus on professional assessments of risks and exclude service user perspectives. This article seeks to demonstrate how human rights-based approaches might be integrated into routine clinical assessment and management of risk. If the human rights of service users, carers and people in the community are balanced, risk can be managed better. Such an approach would mean that service users would be involved in their own risk assessments and their rights would be considered in the design of support services.

Revolving door of service providers

M. Drinkwater

Community Care, Nov. 24th 2011, p. 28-29

Competitive tendering regularly leads to change of service provider as local authorities strive to cut costs and bidders undercut each other. Such changes are particularly disturbing for people with learning difficulties living in supported housing who need continuity of care. Service users need to be involved in the decision-making process in order to minimise difficulties and uncertainties.

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