The letter draft is a good starting point and raises all the points we need to make, let’s see what Lord Cotter makes of it and where he wants to go with it. For me, so long as he makes these points, his press release will be useful:
- All specialist mental health support services in NS have been or are being cut with no consultation or discernable plan to put anything else in place.
- The few support services that remain do not work for people with mental health conditions as they do not meet their complex needs, nor do the staff have the knowledge to effectively work with them.
- People with mental health conditions rely on these services in many different ways to help them manage their independence and health.
- Without these services, more people will lead difficult and unfulfilled lives, go into crisis, and potentially even die bye suicide.
- Not only is this an immoral and unacceptable human cost, it puts significant additional pressure on other services, greatly increasing their costs.
Does that sound like a fair summary?
Now that you’ve explain where you’re coming from with Angela I totally agree.
This is where statutory duty comes in too. Could we argue that the cuts seriously hamper the ability to carry out Section 117 of the Mental Health Act and make effective aftercare practically impossible? I believe the CCGs part is to give you access to a psychologist, psychiatrist and care coordinator who will coordinate your care and treatment, but a) care coordinators are as rare as unicorn horns in NS, and b) their job is untennable with so few services to work with. 117 also clearly gives social services responsibility too, which means NSC have to do more than they are, as the services we’re left with have no specialist knowledge and will not be able to work effectively with people with poor mental health. There are other aspects of the MHA that we could use to argue too, as there’s numerous parts of it that refer to the requirement for person centred social care that is co-produced.
Now that Second Step (and rethink too I believe?) floating support has gone – Alliance will be doing all the independent living support, which will be time limited and solution focused. The only way person centred and co-produced support will happen now is if you have the perfect combination of care co-ordinator and social worker who will give you a good care package / personal budget and support you in managing it, which is very very rare. Even then, there’s not enough capacity within care providers with specialist mental health knowledge to provide that care, and there are people who have been waiting in brokerage for months for their care package to be fulfilled. As with trying to get secondary care treatment in NS, it’s an all or nothing thing and only the people with the most severe conditions get it. That’s my experience of it anyway.
Two other slightly unrelated things I would suggest might be useful to raise with Angela are the lack of a 136 place of safety in NS, and you can refer to the website article I wrote? Closely linked to this which is something else which I’ve had on my mind for a while, is that apart from IST there is no out of hours crisis support at all in NS, so people end up in hospital, in a 136 suite, or potentially dead through suicide. I would like to see crisis support improved. At the very least they could put a CPN (or whatever their title is now as it’s recently changed) into 168 Locking Road overnight along with the out of hours GPs.
Good to hear Glenn is an ally.