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

Access to health care for people with learning disabilities in the UK: mapping the issues and reviewing the evidence

A. Alborz, R. McNally and C. Glendinning

Journal of Health Services Research and Policy, vol.10, 2005, p.173-182

Review aimed to identify theory, evidence and gaps in knowledge relating to help-seeking behaviour of people with learning difficulties and their carers, barriers and problems which they experience in accessing the full range of health services, and practical interventions to improve access for this group. Barriers to access included problems with communication, inadequate facilities, rigid procedures and lack of appropriate interpersonal skills among mainstream health care professionals. A number of innovations designed to improve access were identified, including a prompt card to support general practitioners, health check programmes, and walk-in clinics.

Arresting development

R. Fyson

Community Care, Aug.11-17th 2005, p.36-37

Article reports findings of recent research which looked at young people with learning difficulties who sexually abuse from the point of view of staff in special schools and staff in child protection and youth offending teams. Results showed that a reluctance in services to label these young people as sexual offenders was preventing early access to therapeutic support.

Chief Nursing Officer’s review of mental health nursing: consultation document

London: Department of Health, 2005

The review aims to identify a new strategy for mental health nursing in NHS-funded care in England. It asks how mental health nursing can best contribute to the care of service users in the future. It requests comments on a number of issues of significance to mental health nursing, including core values and roles, providing holistic care, ensuring equality and meeting diverse needs.

Development of a supported self-help book prescription scheme in primary care

P. Farrand

Primary Care

Mental Health, vol,3, 2005, p.61-66

The treatment of mild to moderate mental health problems places extreme pressures on primary care. To help ease these pressures, a number of self-help book schemes have been developed across the UK. This paper describes a variant of these schemes in which, in addition to the book, clients receive support in its use via specially developed clinics.

The future is bright

E. Forrest

Health Service Journal, vol.115, Aug.18th 2005, p.20-22

Lack of an alternative has trapped many mental health service users in undemanding day centre environments. New models are now being developed that are not building-based but encourage users to take up sport and leisure activities, act as volunteers, and enter the workplace. Extensive retraining of staff will be needed to develop this approach.

Going round in circles

L. Warner

Mental Health Today, July/August 2005, p. 32 - 35

The Care Programme Approach (CPA) to the assessment, planning and review of care in adult mental health services needs much more attention from health trusts to ensure that it is effectively implemented, particularly with regard to repeatedly admitted patients, if it is to achieve its potential to improve service users' lives. The article reports findings from a Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health study ("Back on Track") exposing inadequacies of CPA for those detained under the Mental Health Act.

Government’s latest concessions on draft bill fail to mollify campaigners

G. Carson

Community Care, July 21st-27th 2005, p.14-15

Government has made minor changes to its draft Mental Health Bill, recognising the importance of advance directives and excluding people whose sole disorder is drug or alcohol dependency from compulsory treatment. However, campaigners are still concerned that the bill would lead to a large increase in the numbers of people subject to compulsory treatment both in hospital and in the community.

'Humiliated and degraded' in the name of treatment

S. Brody

Community Care, July 28th-Aug.3rd 2005, p.14-15

There are fears that implementation of the provisions of the Draft Mental Health Bill will lead to many more people being subjected to compulsory treatment. Three survivors of compulsory inpatient psychiatric treatment recount their horrific experiences.

One stop mental health

J. Rankin

Community Care, Aug.4th-10th 2005, p.34-35

Many people with mental health problems have a poor quality of life, with very limited choice of treatment. Author calls for the creation of integrated walk-in mental health centres, staffed by trained "access workers" who could offer advice, support and counselling. These centres could open up a quick route into specialist services.

Political correctness, therapeutic naïvety: the furtive future of primary mental health care

T. Warne and S. McAndrew

Primary Care Mental Health, vol.3, 2005, p.19-25

Graduate primary care mental health workers enter the field with brief training and limited experience of mental health problems. Authors argue that they will be ill-equipped to recognise and/or meet the needs of service users whose deceptively simple problem presentation hides a complex mental health aetiology. The paper covers three main areas: 1) the underlying complexity of mental health problems; 2) the expertise required to provide a service to such people; and 3) the emergent role of graduate primary care mental health workers.

Primary care graduate mental health workers: implementation in the North of England

J. Fletcher and others

Primary Care Mental Health, vol.3, 2005, p.55-60

Article describes the process of recruiting, training and developing primary care graduate mental health workers in an English region. It highlights key learning points and raises some examples of good practice.

Private minds in public bodies: the public mental health role of primary care

L. Friedli

Primary Care Mental Health, vol.3, 2005, p.41-46

Mental health promotion has the potential to reduce the cost of mental illness to society, its adverse effects on physical health and its prevalence in deprived communities. Article discusses the role of primary care in mental health promotion. One option is to extend the use of social prescribing, which links people experiencing mental distress to non-medical sources of support in the community.

Psychological therapies for common mental illness: who’s talking to whom?

R. Lawson and H. Guile

Primary Care Mental Health, vol.3, 2005, p.13-17

This study provides an estimate for the amount of psychological support and structured therapy provided to a given inner city population in primary care and the community from a comprehensive population-based survey. It shows that the NHS provides half of the unstructured psychological support but only a third of the structured therapy. It shows that, taking all providers into account, only a small proportion of the people warranting treatment actually receive it. The challenge for the NHS is to work collaboratively with partners in the voluntary and private sectors in order to deliver effective care.

Talk to the hand

C. George

Mental Health Today, July/August 2005, p. 8 - 9

Changes to the Patient and Public Involvement Forums' structure are feared to further weaken public involvement in local health service planning, and swamp the voices of mental health users with general care issues. This article reports varied experiences of PPI forums, and the short lived Commission for Patient and Public Involvement, looking at recruitment problems, merger with PCT forums, the marginalisation of mental health issues and funding.

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