A Monday mental health and health round-up

Joy of joys, a new week, and new,er,news. Same old subject,mark you, namely mental health developments,changes to the NHS, a bit of social care and welfare ‘reform’, plus odds and sods. Please note, this is being penned while Andrew Lansley is about to stand up in the House of Commons and make some pronouncements on the progress (or not) of his rather deep and wide changes to the NHS, so some of the commentaries linked to below may appear mystically accurate or woefully off-beam. The national papers are full of speculation about a U-turn of some sort (it says something when Norman Tebbit is saying Mr. Lansley’s going too far...),but it’ll take some days of decoding Mr Lansley’s undoubtedly fine words to determine whether we get

a) A full-on reversal (enormously unlikely given that so many changes have been implemented already, before the proposals have become law,something which the national press seem slow to have realised, and which is an interesting approach to the rule of law…)

b) Some purely cosmetic tinkering, possibly accompanied by a "listening" (a.k.a. telling us) exercise, using the Calais defence (Bowdlerised):

this person does not understand what I am saying; therefore I must speak more loudly and slowly; and then they will understand’.People are not and have not been objecting to the proposed legislation because they have failed to understand it. Many have said that its basic objectives are laudable.No – people object because it has too many bad ideas, and is excessively risky.They are not against the Bill because they have not understood it. Quite the opposite.

c) A middle way, nay a "third way" (that sounds familiar…) where there are some substantial reverses to the proposed legislation. Most confusing as we all try once again to decipher what this may mean in practice, and how this fits with prior announcements. To be followed by further clarifications and refinements. And then explanatory guidance. And briefings thereafter as to what the guidelines on the clarifications to the alterations to the proposals to change the proposals all amounts to. Certainly what’s been proposed doesn’t sit terribly easy with the NHS Confederation, who are about as critical as they’re ever going to get (i.e. not very overtly) (pdf attached, thanks, Steve))

Onwards and upwards, to infinity and beyond,with last week’s and this week’s NSUN updates/bulletins (this week’s particularly interesting on the Joint Commissioning Panel for Mental Health. Sign up with NSUN and/or the regional network, Noth East together (NEt), and/or the NTWSU&C network as one way of being involved).

Next up an opportunity to be on an ethics committee (thanks to Jeanie and Chelsea):

Dear Alisdair,

We thought that you may be interested in the following opportunities. We have been advised that new Lay & Expert members are currently being recruited for North East Research Ethics Committees. Currently there are vacancies within the following RECs: County Durham & Tees Valley, Newcastle and North Tyneside 1 & 2, Northern Yorkshire and Sunderland. Research Ethics Committees (RECs) safeguard the rights, safety, dignity and well-being of people participating in research in the National Health Service. They review applications for research and give an opinion about the proposed participant involvement and whether the research is ethical.RECs are entirely independent of research sponsors (that is, the organisations funding and hosting the research) and investigators. This enables them to put participants at the centre of their research. It is crucial that we have sufficient members in order for meetings to be carried out and in some areas this has been a struggle. We hope that you will be able to help us and change this.

Please see the attached for more details on this opportunity including contact details if you are interested or require further information

Following in a similar-ish vein via the North east Hub of the MHRN (Mental Health Research Network, who held a tremendous event last month) and the national newsletter for service users in research (thanks, Anna).

Let’s get on to welfare reform, and via Margaret (and Nick) comes this:

Over 40 of the National group/organisations coming together on this.


A report published today by the Disability Benefits Consortium a coalition of 41 charities and organisations shows how welfare reform changes may harm disabled people

The Hardest Hit

Related is a hard-hitting statement by many mental health agencies in Scotland (and remember that the reforms were piloted in Aberdeen). Really straight talking

Courtesy of Tim Bird (NEMHDU) is the news of who we in the North East will have as the "prime contractors" for the welfare-to-work programme. Ingeus Deloitte & Avanta. The interesting thing is neither appear to have had any involvement or impact in the region and little history with JobCentrePlus even. That’s reassuring.(n.b. comments not from Tim)

Next (thanks,Susie) is notice (short notice, I’m afraid) of a mad activism and academia event (attached). Looks interesting but a bit of a stretch to get to, I fear. If anyone does get there, do let us know what it was like.

What now, as we jump from topic to topic like a frog a-leaping across lily-pads? Ah, yes, it’s the MHNE bulletin attached (ta, Gayle), and do look at their website,www.mhne.co.uk because it’s got all multi-media and things like that now (good work Gareth)

Where would be without bedtime or other time reading from Paul Johnson (NEMHDU)? In the bundle are docs on Transparent on Outcomes and making Quality Your Business. Possibly more interesting, and again from Paul is a document on how LINks (Local Involvement Networks) will evolve into local HealthWatches. That’s some task they’ve got…

Such a rich source of info has NEMHDU (the North east Mental Health Development Unit) been, it will be a crying shame when they go, and we’ll miss all the news from Tim, Paul and Maureen, but they’re not gone just yet. The head of the also-disappearing National Mental Health Development Unit made some good points here about the merits of such agencies, which can be amplified for NEMHDU, because they’ve outstripped the national crew…

What else is there to fill up your hard drive? Why, there’s the SPN newsletter (attached), which has much on cuts, which are also the subject featured here,Then we have an opportunity should you so wish to become a trustee of Tyneside (formerly Gateshead) MIND (attached)

Any more for any more? Probably not, so ta ta ’til the next time,


Alisdair Cameron
LAUNCHPAD Team Leader,
NTWSU&C n/wk co-chair (with Mish Loraine)
(for network business: ntwsuc)

Offices 210 and 211,
Holy Jesus Hospital,
City Road,
Newcastle upon Tyne,

Tel 0191 2330382 (personal mobile 07736074213)
E-mail launchpadncl

or alisdairscameron

Lay Member Advert (NE REC).doc



Mad activism seminar day 12th April 2011 plan.doc

MHNE Bulletin 4th April.doc

Transparency in outcomes ASC outcomes framework 2011-12.pdf

the right to provide.pdf

health watch transitionplan.pdf


Tyneside Mind Director Recruitment.pdf

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