Easter break reading: news and views etc

Now, the sun is out so I shan’t detain you with lengthy diatribes or iffy soap-box rantings. This mail-out can be taken as short and sweet or lengthy and thought-provoking, the choice is yours. There will be a superabundance of links at the end, all of which are worth checking out for one reason or another, but they will not have the most verbose of accompanying introductions [edit: somehow, more words and commentary sneaked in] .

Firstly,though as promised in the last mail-out, is the flyer for the North East mental Health User and carer welfare action group meeting to be held on the 23rd of May. Space is finite at the meeting, so please give us an indication if you intend to attend, ta.

Next we have the latest MHNE bulletin (attached, along with a zipped folder of its accompanying docs).
There’s also the latest from NSUN, readable here.

And courtesy of Scott the V is a pdf on the economic case for mental health promotion and mental illness prevention (kinda sad that the merits of such work have to be expressed in purely monetary terms, but hey, useful ammo all the same).

What’s next, why it’s the flurry of docs courtesy of PJ at NEMHDU. One on how health and social care will be married up (can’t help but think we’ve heard that before,many times), and another you can check out here, relating to the Govt’s ‘listening exercise (comments upon which are in the aforementioned links down the bottom of this e-mail).

The DH / Number 10 listening exercise is a bit of a joke, isn’t it? Its questions are a textbook case of bias. And some of the information being put out to accompany the exercise is extremely dodgy or misleading… The whole shebang’s not far short of

Do you think Andrew Lansley’s NHS reforms are:
a) super;
b) really, really super; or
c) don’t go nearly far or fast enough, because they are soooo super?

Still, he says he has the backing of health professionals, though the Royal College of Nursing disagreed, and a GP leader said Having a large number of GPs signed up to consortia doesn’t prove they are in favour of the reforms. Just because someone gets into a lifeboat doesn’t mean they support the sinking of the ship.

Before the recommenced reading list of links, how about a touch of trivia and a couple of recipes?
You know how it smells after it rains? That clean, greenish smell? That’s petrichor, from the Greek petra (stone) and ichor (the blood of Greek gods and goddesses).

And as Easter is upon us, how about a recipe to make your own version of Creme Eggs, and more ambitiously, a recipe for making (very sickly sweet) Cadbury Creme Eggs Benedict…

Interlude over. And a quick follow-up on the possible restriction of entitlement to social care service. Birmingham Council’s attempt to seriously narrow eligibility has been found to be illegal,(hat-tip to AP) but a dime to a dollar says the legal wrangles will continue. In related news an Association of Directors of Adult Social Services study found many local authorities had raised the eligibility bar for free adult social care.
Back to the NHS reforms, and the sincerity of the ‘listening exercise’ was further cast in doubt, by the leaking of a letter from Dame Barbara Hakin, the Department of Health‘s national managing director of commissioning development, the tone of which implies pressing on regardless.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists aren’t too chuffed with the the Health and Social Care Bill either: we remain concerned about how the scale and the pace of change may impact on the care and, in particular, the continuity of care that can be given to patients with mental health problems.
A solution, in the form of four simple changes to the proposed legislation, which would prevent undesirable outcomes is posted here.

From where did the reforms spring, I hear you ask (okay, maybe you didn’t ask that, but rhetorical devices leaven the prose, don’t you think?) ?
A devastating analysis is summarised here, laying the reforms out as part of an ideological drive by successive neo-liberal governments. Do read it. The associated book has been praised, not least for having a more secure evidence base and proper citations than the literature for the ‘listening exercise’.

The case that a marked-based approach to health, especially mental health is a flawed one is succinctly made here, by a practising clinician, while a lengthier, broader, more academic critique (predicting the end of the NHS as we know it) can be read here.

If you don’t think the NHS has that much value, you might want to consider what is laid out here, and the impact the ‘reforms’ could have upon health and inequalities.

More cheeriness in the form of a warning that similarly, the voluntary sector as we know it is also endangered, and that the Big Society (or BS) mightn’t be all that its advocates make it out to be can be perused here.

A wider (i.e. not necessarily tied to the NHS’ structures etc) mental health issue relating to the breadth of diagnostic categories, and tying in with Catherine Zeta-Jones’ high-profile use of mental health services can be read here.

A comedic but hard-hitting short video on the shortcomings of some diagnoses can be viewed here
Finally, an interesting piece on whether mental health as we understand it is a universal construct, or something that is peculiarly Western. Worth a read.

Do enjoy the break,


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

Gmail – MHNE Bulletin150411Final.pdf

Mental health promotion and mental illness prevention the economic case.pdf


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