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Welfare Reform on the Web - March 2001

ACHIEVING POSITIVE CHANGE IN PEOPLE'S LIVES THROUGH THE NATIONAL LEARNING DISABILITY STRATEGY: AN INVITATION TO PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN HIGHER EDUCATION AND THE WORLD OF PRACTICE

D. Towell and S. Hollins

British Journal of Learning Disabilities, vol.28, 2000, p.129-136

Paper proposes a role for higher education institutions in implementing the National Learning Disability Strategy as champions of local progress, promoting, supporting and evaluating change. Invites universities to enter into partnership with other stakeholders such as public agencies and service providers, families and advocacy groups to deliver sustainable change.

AFTER-CARE UNDER THE MENTAL HEALTH ACT 1983

Anon

Disability Rights Bulletin, Winter 2000, p.10-11

The Court of Appeal has confirmed that local authorities cannot charge former patients for accommodation provided under Section 117 of the Mental Health Act 1983. Article explores the impact of this decision on the benefit entitlement of those now staying free of charge in residential accommodation.

COMPULSION FEARS STALL SUPPORT FOR WHITE PAPER

R. Winchester

Community Care, no.1355, 2001, p.10-11

Many of the proposals in the white paper on reform of the Mental Health Act 1983 have been welcomed, including rationalisation of the way people with long-term mental incapacity, children and adolescents are dealt with, creation of a new Mental Health Commission, and plans for better communication between agencies. However there is concern about the white paper's emphasis on compulsory treatment.

AN EMPLOYMENT PROJECT AS A ROUTE TO SOCIAL INCLUSION FOR PEOPLE WITH LEARNING DIFFICULTIES?

V. Gosling and L. Cotterill

Disability and Society, vol.15, 2000, p.1001-1018

Paper is based on an evaluation of an employment initiative for people with learning difficulties in North West London. The project aimed to work towards the transformation of traditional therapeutic day services for people with learning difficulties into a social enterprise model, and to enhance the opportunities of the service users to enter non-segregated work environments.

MAKING CONNECTIONS: LEARNING DISABILITY SERVICES AND PRIMARY CARE GROUPS/TRUSTS

A. Giraud-Saunders

Managing Community Care, vol.8, Dec 2000, p.30-34

Paper affirms the importance of making connections between NHS and local authority learning disability services and primary care groups/trusts in this current period of restructuring and upheaval. Ideas for local action indicate the need for clarity about the roles of learning disability specialists and for determination to continue moving forward during organisational change.

PEOPLE IN THE SMOKE ROOM

K. Rollason, J. Stow and J. Paul

Community Care, no.1352, 2000, p.20-21

Reports findings of focus groups of users of day centres for people with mental health problems in Birmingham. The outcomes of the work show that day centres provide a safe environment for people who do not want to join in structured activities. Recommends that centres should offer a programme of planned and timetabled activities in which users can participate when they are able.

PRIMARY CARE AND MENTAL HEALTH

F. Pidd and M. McArthur

Mental Health Review, vol.5, Dec 2000, p.6-13

Presents some observations on the state of development of primary care groups (PCGs) in taking up their mental health role. Primary care organisations are only just shaping up to use the new opportunities they have to re-engineer care and are frequently hampered by lack of person-power. It may therefore be some time before they are in the position of driving the agenda about primary mental health care.

PUBLIC POLICY AND ORGANIZATIONAL PRIORITY FOR SPECIALIST LEARNING DISABILITY HEALTH SERVICES

R. Greig

Journal of Learning Disabilities, vol.4, 2000, p.307-320

Studies show a significant variation in spend on learning disability health services across the country. The most likely explanation for this is that a lack of structured leadership and direction has allowed different approaches to emerge over time. The current NHS reforms appear likely to exacerbate this, unless Health Authorities, PCTs and Trusts invest in senior leadership with the capacity to take on board the learning disability agenda, and unless greater accountability for the delivery of national policy is built into the NHS system.

REFORMING THE MENTAL HEALTH ACT

Department of Health

London: TSO, 2000 (Cm 5016)

Proposes that individuals with severe personality disorders should be detained indefinitely if experts believe they are a danger to the public. Psychiatric patients in the community should undergo compulsory treatment. If they refuse they should be returned to hospital. As a counter-balance, patients detained under the compulsory powers should have free legal representation and access to independent psychiatrists. They should also be able to request a review of their care and treatment by a Mental Health Tribunal during an order lasting more than three months. Proposes the building of a single, large campus-style facility within a secure perimeter fence to house detainees with severe personality disorders.

(For comment see Health Service Journal, vol.111, Jan 11th 2001, p.11-12).

REFORMING THE MENTAL HEALTH ACT 1983: AN APPROVED SOCIAL WORKER PERSPECTIVE

P. Walton

Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, vol.22, 2000, p.401-414

Under the Mental Health Act 1983 approved social workers undertake social assessments of mental health crises, deciding upon the need for compulsory admission and treatment. Approved social workers' main concerns relate to the social context of mental health need, the availability of social resources, civil liberties, protection for people subject to statutory mental health interventions and the effective regulation of practice and services. Current proposals for the reform of the Act include options that would significantly reduce approved social worker involvement in decisions about compulsory admission and treatment.

TOO MUCH PRESSURE

R. Winchester

Community Care, no.1351, 2000, p.18-19

Children's mental health services are under severe strain due to staff shortages, under-funding and a longterm fall in the number of beds. This is having a serious adverse impact on other care services, and leading to a breakdown in co-operation between agencies. Calls for an increase in inpatient provision, improvements in the geographical spread of services and for the National Service Framework for Mental Health to be extended to cover children.

AN UNDERRATED SERVICE

M. Allen

Community Care, no.1352, 2000, p.22

Cambridgeshire Council's Best Value review of its mental health day services has shown that the social support they provide is highly valued by users. They would like greater access to services, particularly mutual support, at week-ends and in the evenings.

WILL PRIMARY CARE TRUSTS IMPROVE AND DEVELOP COMMUNITY AND MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES?

A. Prigmore

Mental Health Review, vol.5, Dec 2000, p.3-5

The National Service Framework for Mental Health requires primary care trusts to promote mental health, combat discrimination, deliver 24-hour access to help and advice, and to provide access to beds and hostels close to home, either by providing or commissioning appropriate services.