Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Mental Health inpatient care in Wiltshire

BBC NEWS printed this article toady regarding the closure of MH beds in Wiltshire

Devizes mental health hospital to close 30 unused beds

Twenty beds are to close at a psychiatric hospital in Wiltshire under a plan to treat more mental health patients in the community.

Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership said the beds, at Green Lane Hospital, Devizes, were amongst 30 going empty in the county every week.
It claimed many patients had voiced preference for being treated at home.
Clinical director Dr Julie Hankin said the money saved by the bed closures would be re-invested in the service.

"We're spending public money on keeping beds open which aren't being used and we feel this is a fantastic chance to use that money more effectively," she said.
"The money is being invested in other parts of the service, so although it's about efficiencies, it's not about ripping money out of the service."

Karen Frayling, from the mental health support charity, Alabare Include, said that while she supported the care of patients in their home environment, there were concerns that some could "fall through the gap".

"What we don't want to see are people who are too unwell for our community-based service, but aren't poorly enough to need to be in hospital," she said.
"Nobody wants that group of people not to receive a service."


Well the plan is I am lead to believe that all in-care be undertaken at Salisbury , one imagines at the Fountain Way site , this does make good financial sense but has any one considered the social cost of this ?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Mental health on the TV

I am posting this article from the BBC news page with a very heavy heart , its proves what many of us already know , that the stigma attached to mental illness is alive and well.


22 November 2010

Last updated at 02:24

TV mental health portrayal rapped

Many depictions of mental illness on TV are frightening and misleading, a government-backed report says.

The study, commissioned by the Department of Health, found nearly half of all mentally ill characters were portrayed as dangerous to others.

Its author said the "axe-wielding maniac" stereotype should be ditched.

Mental health charity Mind said progress had been made in dramas such as EastEnders and Shameless, but more improvement was needed.

Television and films have been using the "madman" as a dramatic device for decades, but in reality, the vast majority of people with mental health problems pose no risk to others.

The Glasgow Media Group, working on behalf of a Department of Health campaign called "Shift", examined dozens of popular dramas and comedies to see how mental illness was presented to the viewer.

It found that most references to mentally ill people were insulting, examples being the terms "crackpot", "basket case" or "a sad little psycho".

In addition, 45% of storylines involving people with mental health problems found them posing some kind of risk to others.
Recent examples were a character in ITV soap Emmerdale who drugs the village vicar, or a schizophrenic killer in the popular US show CSI: Miami.

'Improve perceptions'Even in BBC One soap EastEnders, which was praised for a realistic portrayal of bipolar disorder with character Stacey Slater, had the same character eventually commit murder.

Professor Greg Philo, who led the research, said: "Fictional film characters like Hitchcock's Norman Bates in 'Psycho' have long established the idea of the 'mentally ill' as crazed and dangerous in the public mind; television has been doing the same thing for decades.

"Great progress has been made in recent years, but we've some way to go before we see more of the everyday realities of living with a mental health problem properly represented and stereotypes like the axe-wielding maniac take a back seat."

Almost half of programmes did offer sympathetic portrayals, although these often showed the character as a "tragic victim", the researchers said.

The depiction of another character with bipolar disorder on Channel 4's Shameless won praise for accuracy and sensitivity.
Paul Farmer, the chief executive of Mind, said that improvements over the past decade had been due to the willingness of scriptwriters and programme producers to involve people with personal experience of mental health problems while carrying out research.

He said: "It is also clear, however, that there is still much work to be done until we are at a stage where accurate depictions are the norm rather than the exception.
"I hope this report will encourage programme makers to follow these examples of good practice to create accurate, well-rounded characters that can improve perceptions of mental health."

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Bed-Blocking Great Western Hospital in Swindon

Bed-blocking by over-60s cost Great Western Hospital in Swindon £80,000 last year, it has been revealed.

A hospital spokesman said delayed discharges had come down by 47% in the past two years, but the figures have risen again in the past few months.

He said it cost the hospital £200 a day to accommodate patients.

We all know that the answer to this problem is a totally inter-linked healthy and social care policy on a county wide basis , until this is achieved the problem will continue.

One would hope that with the removal of PCT,s and the transfer of their responsibilities to Wiltshire Council that a single social care /health policy will be achievable .

I for one will not be holding my breath waiting for this to happen !

Friday, November 5, 2010

Benefit assessment system 'not working'

The following comes from BBC Gloucestershire

MP says benefit assessment system 'not working'

A Gloucestershire MP has criticised the system of assessing whether people with mental health issues are well enough to work.

If people on incapacity benefit are deemed "fit to work", they must actively seek employment.

Laurence Robertson said 48% of appeals against mental health assessments were upheld in the county.

The Department for Work and Pensions said it was unfair to suggest the system was not working.

Mr Robertson, Conservative MP for Tewkesbury, said he had looked into the issue after being approached by some constituents.

He said he obtained figures that showed 42% of people in England had their appeals against their mental health assessments upheld by independent tribunals.

"In Gloucestershire of up to 250 appeals heard 120 were successful, which is 48%," he said.

"Of those who take their cases to appeal, almost half of them are successful which suggests there is something wrong with the original assessment system in the first place."

He said the figures were from August 2009 to July 2010.

"This really does need to be looked into," he added.

"The very people who are not really capable of taking the matters up for themselves, although a number of them are doing, are suffering in this way.

"There must be an awful lot of people who because of the nature of their illness don't take the issue to appeal."
'Want to work'

Sophie Corlett, from mental health charity Mind, said the organisation agreed with Mr Robertson's findings.

"A lot of people with mental health problems can work and want to work - and working is good for your mental health if you're able to," she said.

"But for many people they're not at that point yet or they're too unwell and the assessment doesn't really work on that."

She said the assessment was based on a series of questions that were mostly geared towards physical health.
Overall assessment

A Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) spokesman said it was unfair to suggest the system was not working, and that out of everyone who is assessed overall, five per cent appealed successfully.

The figures include those with physical ill health, as well as mental health issues.

The calculation is based on the published statistics of the 420,000 new claims to Employment and Support Allowance from October 2008 to June 2009.

The spokesman added the department was always trying to improve, and a review into any whether any further changes to the assessment were needed was taking place.


Ok well any one who has had dealing with the benefit system and mental health will say whats new !! , service users have face this up hill battle for years and to be totally honest I see no end in sight to this problem , after all a mental disorder is not quantifiable like a physical disability is it ?.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Carers suffer in Wiltshire

In the last few years within the Peoples not so Democratic Republic of Wiltshire we have seen cuts in funding for carers ,mental health , advocacy and the Wiltshire users network , all these during the golden years of the Labour Governments prudent fiscal management .

We how face the most draconian cuts in council funding and the demise of locally based and run PCT's ,cause for grave concern to all .
We need in these times of economic decline to ensure that front line social care services are not subject to cuts .

So what effect have the above mentioned cuts had on carers in this area of Wiltshire ?

Well the most obvious one has been the loss of Advocacy Works , a great locally based advocacy service that helped empower a large number of people , including carers , it was a great comfort to know that the local support was there in times of need .

The loss of the Bridge Project was a major blow to mental health users and carers in West and North Wiltshire , the four Saturday clubs where well attended and sorely missed by service users and there carers alike , nothing has been put in place as a substitute.

We all acknowledge that the number of carers will increase in years to come and it will happen.

Just think one day you can be working in a well paid job , blissfully unaware of carers or carers issues yet the next day a full time carer trying to live on the fraction of your former income.

Cuts in funding of Health and Social care will only lead to greater suffering for carers and service users in our county , Yes support the NHS but PLEASE don’t forget the carers and Service users ..

Care groups warn on government funding reform pledges

The BBC report that -

"Care groups are warning the government risks failing to deliver on a pledge to reform the funding system for the long-term care of elderly people in England.

In a letter to the health secretary, they suggest a commission has lost "momentum" and changes may not be put in place in this parliament.

They say the "major challenge" needs to be addressed.

The Department of Health says reform remains a government priority and the commission will report by July 2011.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley set up the Commission on the Funding of Care and Support in July."

Once again government is sitting on a time bomb waiting to explode , with cuts in local Councils sending under way this problem will only escalate.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

CQC-Mid Staffs NHS Foundation Trust

So the dear old Care Quality Commission (CQC) has in its infinite wisdom found Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust managed to comply with just five out of the 16 objectives set out by law to maintain quality and safety in hospitals.

Its said that while the trust had improved in some areas, the latest inspection report said problems with the way hospitals handle medicine had increased in the last 12 months.

The CQC has said it has minor concerns about eight other standards and moderate concerns about three, including management of medicine , supporting workers and complaints.

Inspectors said many of the concerns would be addressed once action plans were in place.

"Our findings lead us to have a moderate concern in the management of medicines," the report said.

I just love the MODERATE ! To me its totally unacceptable !!!