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

BE HONEST WITH ME

J. Pearl

Community Care, Aug. 26th-Sept. 1st 2004, p.34-35

People with dementia are often not given their diagnosis or the information and support they need to cope with it. Knowing the diagnosis can have great benefits for patients and carers in decision-making, planning and quality of life. The article introduces the work of DASS UK, an initiative which aims to support people with dementia and their carers.

DRAFT MENTAL HEALTH BILL

Department of Health

London: TSO, 2004 (Cm 6305)

The draft bill would:

  • allow non-offending psychopaths to be detained indefinitely if clinically appropriate;
  • introduce compulsory treatment in the community to protect patients in danger of relapse;
  • allow people to refuse electro-convulsive therapy if they retain mental capacity;
  • increase maximum sentences for those convicted of ill-treating patients;
  • establish an independent tribunal to review every detention lasting more than 28 days;
  • provide an independent advocacy service to help patients assert their rights.

EQUALITY OF ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE FOR PEOPLE WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES

M. Sowney and O. Barr

Journal of Learning Disabilities, Vol.8, 2004, p.247-265

The article examines the barriers facing people with learning difficulties when accessing health care facilities, including a lack of understanding both of people with learning difficulties and their health care needs by health care staff, poor communication and negative stereotypes. It analyses the concept of "equity of access" to health care using a framework by Walker and Avant to help to clarify the concept in terms of disabled people. The article concludes that to achieve equality of access one must not only be able to use a service, but benefit from it, and that accessibility should relate not only to distance but also to time and ethos.

FAMILY PLACEMENT SCHEMES FOR ADULT PERSONS WITH INTELLECTUAL DISABILITIES LIVING WITH ELDERLY CARERS

R. McConkey and others

Journal of Learning Disabilities, Vol.8, 2004, p.267-282

The article explores the benefits of family placement schemes for adults with intellectual disabilities whose carers are elderly. Interviews were held with 25 carers in Northern Ireland, the adults they cared for and the placement providers. Results showed that all parties were very positive about the scheme, with those with disabilities enjoying opportunities to do different things and carers welcoming the chance to have a break. Placement providers spoke of the satisfaction and enjoyment they gained by taking part in the scheme, although some felt their remuneration was too little, but they emphasised the amount of commitment required to become a provider.

FEAR, BLACK PEOPLE AND MENTAL ILLNESS: A VICIOUS CIRCLE?

F. Keating and D. Robertson

Health and Social Care in the Community, vol.12, 2004, p.439-447

The study was premised on a belief that there are "circles of fear" which lead to poorer treatment of Black people. A purposive sampling approach was used to seek out groups and individuals in whom the "circles of fear" were likely to be evident. Findings suggest that there are fears which impact negatively on interactions between black people and the mental health services. Sources of fear include perceptions of mental health services, attitudes to mental illness and diagnosis, and experiences of hospital care. The impact of fear includes limited trust, limited engagement and delayed help-seeking behaviour.

ISSUES OF DETENTION REMAIN A WORRY AFTER MENTAL HEALTH IS REDRAWN

S. Gillen

Community Care, Sept. 16th-22nd 2004, p.16-17

There is disappointment and concern that the revised draft Mental Health Bill contains proposals that will extend compulsory detention and treatment.

MENTAL HEALTH BILL FAILS TO PLEASE

Anon.

New law Journal, Vol.154 17th Sept. 2004, p. 1349

Mental heath groups have attacked the Department of Health's revised draft of the Mental Health Bill, despite tighter safeguards on its controversial proposals to introduce laws making it possible to detain people who have not committed any offence but are deemed a risk to others or themselves. Richard Brook, the chief executive of Mind described the Bill as "fundamentally flawed", and warned that the proposals for compulsory treatment may alienate service users, making them less likely to seek the services they need.

PRESCRIPTIONSFOR PLEASURE

M. Brown, L. Friedli and S. Watson

Mental Health Today, June 2004, p.20-23

Social prescribing offers a range of alternative approaches to treatment of mental health problems. Article describes a number of schemes in use in primary care to achieve more positive outcomes for vulnerable client groups, including people with mild to moderate depression and anxiety and people with long term difficulties.

THE SAD STATE OF MENTAL HEALTH IN PRISONS

A. Bell

British Journal of Health Care Management, Vol.10, 2004, p.185

Three quarters of the prison population experience significant levels of mental ill health. The article explores the reasons behind this statistic and considers how those who suffer in this way can best be helped.

SERVICES TAKE ANOTHER HIT WITH MISERABLE PERFORMANCE RATINGS

D. Hayes

Community Care, July 29th - Aug 4th 2004, p.20-21

The 2004 performance ratings suggest that mental health trusts have achieved little or no improvement since 2003. Of the 83 trusts in England, 23 received one star and seven no stars, while the number of three star trusts rose by one to 15. As usual, professionals in the field say the ratings do not fairly reflect service quality and attribute the sector's problems to lack of government commitment and under-funding.

TOWERING CHALLENGE

W. Little

Society Guardian, Sept. 8th 2004, p.6-7

Treating mental health patients in hospitals will soon be a thing of the past in North Merseyside. It's an ambitious plan - but can it work?

WORKING ALL TOGETHER

T. Thomas, J. Secker and B. Grove

Mental Health Today, June 2004, p.30-33

Article reports results of a preliminary study of a job retention service for people with mental health problems based in Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Service Trust. The project operates on a case management model, offering support to people in employment experiencing mental health problems and at risk of losing their jobs as a result.

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