New month (June) news on MH, Health, Social care, and some opinion stuff.

Woo-hoo, it’s June.Could it be, dare we hope that "Sumer Is Icumen In"?
And still the news and info comes a-flowing in. No drought or hosepipe bans here yet, so in no particular order (because order and structure are just,like,sooo last season,yeah),we have:

This week’s NSUN bulletin (and hey, why not join NSUN here, not least because they’ve been great at supporting NEt, the regional user and carer network that among many other activities as the neutral platform for MH service users and carers,serves as its North East presence).

Next up is the Moving Forward South Tyneside newsletter. Formerly known as the Derby Terrace Day Centre, they do sterling work and have been most obliging hosts to some NTWSU&C network meetings.
Now, our friends and network members at NIWE, the eating distress group have news of a carers’ group (attached). Much needed (oh, and it’ll help with NEEDAG, the Nth East Eating Disorder Action Group, on which NEt is working with NIWE and interested individuals).

More regional stuff courtesy of our pals at the Nth East Mental Health Research Network, and the service users in research newsletter from their parent body, the MHRN.
Another newsletter is attached via our chums at the Social Perspectives Network (, and do continue to watch this space for a joint user and carer networks and SPN meeting soon-ish.

Now this mailout is going to be lighter than normal on NHS reform. Hooray, I hear you cry, has nasty Mr Lansley gone away. Er, not quite, and I’m very sure that he’ll grace us all with his presence and bon mots once the results of his "listening exercise" have ben written up, tweaked, manipulated and compiled into some kind of document that miraculously portrays every man jack and woman jill of the population as being four-square behind every single bit of his legislation. Too cynical, you retort, but how can anyone out-cynic a politician? To be fair (I can’t quite believe I’m penning this) it is at the time of writing wholly unknown what will stay and what will go with NHS reform (and that goes for Mr Lansley too). The Royal College of GPs’ (y’know, the folk meant to be at the vanguard of reform) opinions are laid out here, with the King’s Fund and BMA takes here (hat-tip to AP). We can have fun guessing mind, and it does seem certain that much future "NHS" provision won’t be from,er, the NHS, but possibly from voluntary and community sector providers (less contentious, as they are not-for-profit) or (way more contentious) from the rapacious private sector, which could either cherry-pick, or demand absurd inflated premiums for deigning to deal with the masses. A grotesquely OTT characterisation? Yup, but surely something is afoot when a private sector provider, one much favoured apparently by the Dept of Health, given it is floated as a candidate to take over several hospitals (and runs one NHS one already) for some reason seeks to wrap itself in the guise of being a "social enterprise", as if being a for-profit enterprise, whose first legal duty is to shareholders (predominantly city investors) were not something they want to admit to being. Circle Health (for it is them) is not a social enterprise despite what its chief exec proclaims (I could say my car is a Ferrari 360: doesn’t make it so), and like to shirk paying tax, surely something rather anti-social.The private sector does health and social care ever so well, doesn’t it, and doesn’t let financial engineering get in the way one bit. Does it? And monitoring is secure in the hands of the CQC, surely, who’ll definitely keep an eye on any mischief by service providers. That’s the CQC who are crumpling under their workload, and didn’t come out well from Tuesday’s Panorama.

Enough of the curious dealings of one multinational, and on the the murky dealings of another,sigh. Our old adversaries atos, and their questionable techniques and dubious ‘expertise’ when administering the WCA process to determine serve users’ entitlements to benefits to aid their condition management. Front page of today’s Guardian (and a little birdy tells me that atos’ heavy-handed legal attempts to quash criticism from the little people may feature tomorrow, or the day after…) is quite a damning indictment of welfare reform (a scary aspect of which is pointed out here) and the atos regime by various mental health eminences. Nothing that hasn’t been aired in these mail-outs for months if not years now (what took ’em so long to cotton on?), but very well worth reading. Their letter (here) speaks of devastating effects on mental health service users. The signatories to the letter don’t all have clean hands in welfare reform though, as this excoriating comment by desik demonstrates (and is recommended reading, I mean really worth a gander).

Resistance and protest is growing and so attached is a flyer for the next meeting of the Nth East Mental Health Welfare Reform Action Group. Also attached is the submission made by that group (all are welcome) to the Governmental consultation that closed last month. (Don’t worry, there’ll be another consultation along in a minute).

Can we end on something positive and/or useful? Why, yes we can and it’s with the NEMHDU directory or people and agencies in the region who are equipped to deliver training in specific packages on mental health awareness (the MHFA package) and in suicide prevention (thanks to Neil J). Seriously, NEMHDU are going to be a big loss when they go. Oh, heck, that’s a downbeat note as well. If anyone has genuinely positive news,or items of interest that don’t perturb, then let us know and we’ll get it out there.

Until 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





Welfare Reform Bill Feedback23.5.11.doc


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