Tuesday 24 August 2010

Rhondda Cynon Taf

On the latest leg of the "Road to Recovery" tour the microbus tootles into Aberaman to share her message in the valleys heartland of Rhondda Cynon Taf. Hafal Practice Leader John Davies promises: “We’re going to have a fun and informative day which will have a surfing theme in more ways than one: as well as sampling the surfer vibe or our microbus, visitors will also be able to visit a computer room where they can surf the net. The main aim of the day is to explore mental health in all its facets through the web, music and photography and woodwork displays. Our displays will get people talking and sharing ideas”.

John's expectations are fulfilled and he also points to local needs, specifically for easier access to out-of-hours emergency help and for a dedicated support service for women.

The campaign continues apace with just 6 out of 22 counties still to go. So how are we doing at the macro level with the national campaign themes? Well, not bad even if the jury is definitely still out...

On the Measure (Welsh Law) the signs are good. The draft interim guidance on care planning, which we hope will translate into regulations and formal guidance under the Measure, does prescribe the holistic care plan we need to achieve as the legal right of all patients in secondary mental health services. However, we need to press hard to provide the maximum legal certainty without loopholes. We are still fighting the cause of timescales, but would hope to see these established at least in a secondary, flexible way in either regulations or formal guidance.

On the restructuring of mental health services to serve individual care plans we have some way to go to reform the present mainly top-down approach. We need to campaign further to ensure that all secondary mental health services are commissioned through analysis of individual care plans; more than that we need to empower patients in future to purchase their choice of care and treatment using individual budgets or direct payments.

On the protection and enhancement of resources for mental health services we have in place the declared ring fence on NHS mental health funding, but we will need to ensure that this is a watertight commitment (see this post for some concerns).

That feels like we are at least three miles along a ten mile road to success?