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Welfare Reform on the Web (July 2005): Mental Health Services - UK

Acute Care 2004: a national survey of adult psychiatric wards in England

I. Garcia and others

London: Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health, 2005

Over 50 NHS trusts and 300 wards across England were surveyed to provide a benchmark to measure future change. Survey found that:

  • There is an over-reliance on bank and agency staff
  • Nearly half of wards lack a lead consultant psychiatrist, while 13% are without a ward manager or senior nurse above grade F.
  • One half of wards lost staff to community teams in the year before the survey
  • As a result of the successful creation of new community teams, inpatients have increasingly severe mental health problems. However, one-fifth of wards lack accress to a psychiatric intensive care unit.

Cash in their hands

T. Coldham, K. Newbigging and N. Vick

Mental Health Today, June 2005, p.26-28

Direct payments can be used to enable people with mental health problems to hire personal assistants, pay for respite care, or meet childminding costs to facilitate their access to social or leisure events. Article suggest ways in which use of direct payments could be increased.

Changes and choices: finding out what information young people with learning disabilities, their parents and supporters need at transition

B. Tarleton and L. Ward

British Journal of Learning Disabilities vol.33, no.2, 2005, p. 70 - 76

At "transition" from school to college or employment and from children's to adults' social and health services, some common information needs focus on jobs, colleges and transition in general. Findings from a survey of the information needs of young people with learning disabilities, their supporters and parents are reported here with a description of the research process and how young people with learning difficulties were trained in research methods and undertook focus groups. The paper also outlines key issues for providing information for each stakeholder group

Discipline needed

D. Eaton

Community Care, June 2nd-8th 2005, p.34-35

Article summarises the results of a survey that explored how the role of primary mental health worker in child and adolescent mental health services has been implemented, supported and developed, from their perspective.

Everyone has the right to choose a roller-coaster life

H. Collins

Community Living, vol.18, no.4, 2005, p.22-23

An element of risk in people's lives is healthy and stimulating. Social care professionals should be more prepared to support people with learning difficulties in taking the risks they choose.

Forgotten, not gone

C. Jackson

Mental Health Today, June 2005, p.12-13

Many people with severe and enduring mental illness who do not pose a risk to the public or themselves have been abandoned by the mental health services. They are theoretically under the care of their GP, but most surgeries do not offer specialist mental health care. There is a need for primary mental health care teams that can offer counselling, referral to community services and voluntary sector projects, and liaison with secondary care.

Going places

E. Forrest

Health Service Journal, vol. 115, June 16th 2005, p.32-33

The shift of resources to community services has taken its toll on mental health inpatient units where violent attacks, low morale and staff shortages are becoming the norm.

'It's about a dialogue…' Working with people with learning difficulties to develop accessible information

L. Ward and R. Townsley

British Journal of Learning Disabilities vol.33, no.2, 2005, p. 59 - 64

A key element in producing accessible information is working together with the target audience. This should mean that the information produced is easier to understand and more likely to make a difference to people's lives. Ideally, people with learning difficulties should be involved at every stage of information production.

Lack of community care support blamed for growing use of private sector homes

M. Ahmed

Community Care, June 23rd-29th 2005, p.16-17

There is concern that people with learning difficulties are being moved out of long-stay hospitals into private sector institutions instead of being supported in the community.

Let's work in partnership to give families the best chance to stay together

S. Moore

Community Living, vol.18, no.4, 2005, p.20-21

The Human Rights Act gives women with learning difficulties the right to have children, but does not give them any assurance of being able to bring them up without the intervention of child protection services. Parents with learning difficulties need extra support and help to bring up their children, and to avoid their being removed by social services.

Measured approach to fairer care

A. James

Public Servant, issue 27, May 20th 2005, p.11

In January 2005 the government launched its action plan for tackling racism in the mental health services. There is concern that the action plan will fail to enforce change because it is not tied to specific targets. There are also concerns that the provisions of the upcoming Mental Health Bill will clash with the action plan.

Polluting their minds

C. Newnes

Mental Health Today, June 2005, p.22-25

Argues that many boisterous and naughty children in the UK are wrongly diagnosed as having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and prescribed a powerful drug to control their behaviour. Suggests that the problems of naughty children could be more effectively addressed through family and parenting support programmes.

Private psychiatric treatment the growth area in new-look healthcare

N. Timmins

Financial Times, June 16th 2005, p.4

A little-noticed medical service is set to undergo rapid expansion as the NHS embraces more involvement with the independent sector. Private acute psychiatric facilities are already one of the fastest growing areas of NHS provision and are set for a further boom. The private sector has fewer than 3,800 psychiatric beds, of which 81 per cent are paid for by the NHS. In private medium secure facilities - used for patients deemed to be a danger to themselves - almost all the beds are paid for by the NHS. But the sector is set to grow by another 30 per cent by 2010, according to a study by healthcare analysts Laing and Buisson. This is because the NHS, following the closure of large mental asylums, "will continue to experience sometimes severe capacity constraints". Demand will also continue to rise as people in prison with severe mental health problems are transferred to health care services.

Seeing for ourselves: producing accessible information for people [with] learning difficulties and visual impairments

G. Levy

British Journal of Learning Disabilities, vol.33, 2005, p.77 - 82

Motivated by the lack of guidance on accessible information for the high numbers of people with learning disabilities who also have sight problems, this paper discusses the variety of sight problems, ways of supporting information use, and how information should be provided.

Using an action research approach to involving service users in the assessment of professional competence

D. Bailey

European Journal of Social Work, vol.8, 2005, p.165-179

The UK government's modernisation agenda requires the involvement of service users in the development of the mental health workforce. In this study users provided feedback on the evidence MA students submitted to demonstrate their professional competence. The article outlines how the users were trained to provide feedback and the issues they raised. A focus group interview with the students provides a contrasting insight into how they felt about having users comment on their work.

Why shouldn’t we choose?

J. Rankin

Mental Health Today, June 2005, p.32-33

The national agenda on patient choice has yet to be extended to the mental health services. Proposes two changes in the organisation of the mental health services to facilitate user choice:

  • Allowing people to access mental health services through counsellors, nurse practitioners and other community-based workers as well as GPs.
  • Introduction of individual budget holding to allow patients to purchase therapies of their choice.

Without words – meaningful information for people with high individual communication needs

S. Thurman, J. Jones and B. Tarleton

British Journal of Learning Disabilities, vol.33, 2005, p.83 - 89 While legislation has provided for rights to intelligible information for people with learning difficulties, people with complex needs, who do not communicate through speech, writing or symbols but by unique methods using their bodies and facial expressions, require an individual approach. This paper sets out seven principles to help understanding of the way such individuals communicate, and to encourage their supporters to communicate only relevant information.

Writing it ourselves

Wyre Forest Self Advocacy, and B. Tarleton

British Journal of Learning Disabilities, vol.33, 2005, p. 65 - 69

"You feel you are achieving when you can actually understand [books]". Stressing the importance of inclusion in the production of easy information, as well as the positive benefits and skills gained by participants, this article gives an account of how and why Wyre Forest Self Advocacy, a group of 17 - 25 year olds with learning difficulties, wrote a book about setting up a self advocacy group.

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