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Welfare Reform on the Web (February 2001): Mental Health Services - UK

ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY: PATIENTS' VIEWS OF CONDITIONS ON PSYCHIATRIC WARDS

S. Baker

London: Mind, 2000

Report describes psychiatric wards as depressing, bleak and threatening environments rife with illegal drugs, racism and sexual harassment. Staff are overworked and unsympathetic, food is poor and toilets are dirty. To improve conditions, calls for more user consultation, a national action plan to tackle illegal drugs, greater access to interpreters, and a legal right of advocacy to be incorporated in the New Mental Health Act.

IS THERE LIFE AFTER DEATH FOR THE COMMISSION?

L. Green

Community Care, no.1346, 2000, p.10-11

The Mental Health Act Commission was set up nearly 20 years ago to safeguard the rights of patients detained under the Mental Health Act 1983. When this Act is reformed, the Commission may be replaced by an independent body reporting to Parliament. There is support for the successor body having a greater monitoring role and more user involvement.

A LONG OVERDUE REVIEW

D. Chadda

Community Care, no.1346, 2000, p.12

The government has announced that a new learning disability strategy for England will be delivered in the form of a white paper in 2001. Article calls for more resources, increased advocacy services, improved access to education and health care, provision of suitable, non-institutional housing, and an expansion of the supported employment scheme.

MENTAL HEALTH, MULTIPLE NEEDS AND THE POLICE

Revolving Doors Agency

London: 2000

Proposes the use of link workers to solve the problem of people falling through the net between social care, health and housing. Link workers should be social workers, community psychiatric nurses and occupational therapists. They would liaise with the police who had been trained to spot people with mental health problems when picked up for minor offences.

WELFARE FOR THOSE WHO CAN?: THE IMPACT OF THE QUASI-MARKET ON THE LIVES OF PEOPLE WITH LEARNING DIFFICULTIES

A. Wilson, S. Riddell and S. Baron

Critical Social Policy, no.65, 2000, p.479-502

Illuminates the limitations of the quasi-market for social care for people with learning difficulties. The study was carried out in a rural area where the paucity of service providers revealed the failure of the mixed economy of care to deliver efficient and diverse services. Also highlights the perverse incentives in the present benefits arrangements which keep people in high-dependency accommodation so as not to undermine their preserved rights to health service financial support. In turn, the fact that people are deemed incapable of work means that they cannot spend more than 16 hours a week in therapeutic work without losing benefits.

WHOSE CRISIS? RESPONDING TO CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE IN AN EMERGENCY

C. Street

London: Young Minds, 2000

Research shows that child and adolescent mental health services across the board are experiencing greatly increased referral rates of youngsters with mental health problems; that all community services are facing increased pressure as a result of staffing shortages, service reorganisations and boundary changes; and that there is widespread confusion between agencies as to how to meet the needs of children with conduct disorders and challenging behaviour. Calls for a coherent national service framework to drive up standards in children's mental health services.