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Welfare Reform on the Web (January 2004): Mental Health Services - UK

CARE HOME OR SUPPORTED HOUSING? POINTERS FROM THE CASE OF ALTERNATIVE FUTURES LTD V NATIONAL CARE STANDARDS COMMISSION

L. Convery

Housing, Care and Support, vol.6, Nov. 2003, p.19-21

In June 2003 the Care Standards Tribunal turned down an appeal by Alternative Futures Ltd against a decision by the National Care Standards Commission not to let them cancel the registration of 11 care homes. Alternative Futures had applied for cancellation of the registration because it felt the homes were functioning as supported housing with domiciliary care. The service users had learning disabilities and had been granted tenancies. Article summarises some key points of the judgement.

CONNECTING MENTAL HEALTH AND HUMAN RIGHTS

G. Davidson, M. McCallion and M. Potter

Belfast: Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, 2003

The report reviews human rights issues involved in mental health law, policy and practice in Northern Ireland. It examines the assessment and civil "detention" of people with mental health problems, the Mental Health Review Tribunal, the Mental Health Commission for Northern Ireland, treatment, mental health and the criminal justice system, and protection and empowerment. Each area is examined in relation to the relevant international standards, law policy and practice in Northern Ireland, potential human rights violations, and the experience of other jurisdictions.

GET OUT, STAY OUT

K. Godfrey

Health Service Journal, vol.113, Dec.11th 2003, p28-29

Describes a relapse prevention scheme, which uses techniques common in the field of substance abuse to help people with mental health problems stay out of hospital. The scheme uses cognitive behavioural training to help patients and their carers better manage their condition. Audit of the scheme shows a reduction in hospital admissions and length of stay.

NATIONAL MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES ASSESSMENT: INTERIM REPORT

S. Grant

Edinburgh: Scottish Executive Health Department, 2003

The report was produced to help with the planning for the implementation of the provisions of the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act. It covers hospital and community services, crisis intervention, role of social workers and psychiatrists and administration and finance.

NO WAY THROUGH

T. Braithwaite

Health Service Journal, vol.113, Dec. 18th 2003, p.32

There is an urgent need for the integration of inpatient and community mental health services. This would ensure that hospital admission becomes one of a range of treatment options, chosen for its benefit to the patient.

PLACED AMONG STRANGERS: TWENTY YEARS OF THE MENTAL HEALTH ACT 1983 AND FUTURE PROSPECTS FOR PSYCHIATRIC COMPULSION

Mental Health Act Commission

London: TSO, 2003

The report is heavily critical of the current Mental Health Bill's proposals for compulsory treatment and detention of people with dangerous and severe personality disorders which, it argues, breach human rights legislation. Other concerns highlighted include:

  • safety of women and children treated on predominantly male wards;
  • the physical health of service users;
  • the continual over-representation of black and ethnic minority patients in detentioned;
  • the growth of alcohol and illegal drug use in secure units;
  • the use of seclusion in special hospitals as a punitive measure.

RITALIN NATION

K. Leason

Community Care, Dec. 4th-10th 2003, p.26-28

There are concerns that over-reliance on drug therapy for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder leads to failure to address underlying social and family problems. Health, education and social services need to work more closely together to address the needs of these children.

STRATEGIES FOR CHANGE: MAKING VALUING PEOPLE REALITY

R. Fyson and K. Simons

British Journal of Learning Disabilities, vol.31, 2003, p.153-158

Article reports on the interim findings of the "Strategies for Change" research project which has focused on the need for effective strategic planning to implement the Valuing People White Paper. It draws attention in particular to the roles of commissioners of learning disability services and the new Learning Disability Partnership Boards in developing and implementing local plans.

WHAT CHI HAS FOUND IN: MENTAL HEALTH TRUSTS

Commission for Health Improvement

London: 2003

Mental health services are chronically underfunded in England, leading to acute staff shortages and lack of management capacity. Information systems are also severely under-resourced, and the service has in many cases failed to guarantee patients a decent standard of accommodation.

WHAT EXACTLY IS IT THAT WE DO?

G. Slay

Professional Social Work, Dec. 2003, p.16-17

Discusses the role of social workers in community mental health teams.

Suggests that they should provide a counter to the tendency to medicalise people's difficulties or to over-rely in drug treatments. They should also promote the development of service user-led groups and activities.

WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO GIVE MENTAL HEALTH THE ATTENTION IT DESERVES?

N. Bostock

Primary Care Report, Vol.5, no.19, Nov.26th, 2003, p7-9

Primary Care Trusts stand accused of neglecting mental health services, hampered by a lack of resources and commissioning experience. Author highlights cases where services are working well, thanks to an integrated approach.

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