Sunday 6 November 2011

Business Everywhere

Apologies for the the long gap between posts. I was in North Wales for the latter half of last week and the Orange "Business Everywhere" plug-in stick didn't live up to its name meaningfully in room 207 of the Colwyn Bay Travelodge. I did try but felt like the telegraph officer on the Titanic attempting to transmit letter by letter with a desperately slow connection (well I suppose he was more anxious than I was).

Anyway, the important news is that Lee McCabe has now published his campaign on the Code of Practice for Parts 2 & 3 of the Mental Health Measure. This sounds boring and technical but don't stop reading! Honestly, this Code sets out in practical terms how Care and Treatment Plans must be developed for all users of secondary mental health service. It may therefore be even more important than the new Mental Health Strategy currently being written.

One of the three issues that Lee raises is about timescales, both:

● from referral by a GP for assessment for secondary mental health services
to that assessment being carried out; and

● from assessment as a "relevant patient” (needing secondary mental
health services) to the completion of the required Care and Treatment Plan.

There is guidance on assessment timescales under part 8.9 of the draft Code
but this relates to Part 3 (which concerns former users of secondary mental
health services) and it is not mentioned in relation to Part 2 (which concerns
care planning).

The timescale for getting assessments done needs to follow the Welsh Government's own timescales for assessment set out in its interim community mental health team guidance which says that:

- Emergency referrals will be seen within 1-4 hours;
- Urgent referrals will be seen within 48 hours;
- Routine referrals will be seen within a maximum of 4 weeks, but usually much sooner.

And there should be clear deadlines for the creation of Care and Treatment Plans following assessment as a “relevant patient”. Lee suggests:

- Plans must be created a maximum of 6 weeks from assessment under most circumstances
- Plans must be created a maximum of 12 weeks from assessment even in the most exceptional circumstances.

To read all Lee's points, and for links to the draft Code and other key documents, follow this link. You can also find there a link to Hafal's own draft response to the consultation - we are trying something new by showing our work in progress and you are welcome to contribute.

Lee's position already has the support of the Mental Health Foundation and MDF the Bipolar Organisation as well as Hafal so we are confident that this campaign has legs and we can achieve vital improvements to the Code.