Early-ish July mail-out of of mental health, health and social care news,views and opinions (Part 1)

Less is more, so some say, (more or less) so a more compact, nay bijou, mail-out this week. [edit:er, a more expansive,roomy,missive has been constructed]
So, without further frittering of your precious time, let’s step over the threshold of the charming property of the mail-out:

Entering the front hall, we encounter the cheery,familiar and valuable MHNE newsletter (attached), of obvious value to the discerning client.
The theme continues as we move into the sitting-room, where we can see the popular features of the NSUN bulletin, ever so conveniently located here and here and also the North East hub of the Mental Health Research Network’s newsletter.

Now we reach the kitchen where meals (and plots) are cooked up, and pots (and tempers) have been known to boil over. Feel the heat from the range of views about NHS reform. Some say competition will bring benefits (and,erm. they will certainly benefit, being multi-nationals), others say not (hat-tip AP) but they’re not talking in the same terms. A better overview/take on it all is here [in brief: competition per se is neither good nor bad,it all depends on who's competing, what for,on what terms, and to what end].

Simmering away over there are the draft plans from David Nicholson, head honcho of the NHS, but it looks like they’re leaking…(the ‘confidential’ document attached has reached the public domain, possibly by error, probably deliberately so). Amid the turmoil and uncertainty of the Health & Social Care Bill "reforms", restructuring,pauses, wholesale change and accompanying confusion, David Nicholson has taken complete charge. It certainly looks like previously-floated ideas of GP commissioning as something fairly autonomous are history, and reading this document a picture could be painted of CCGs (Clinical Commissioning Groups: the term consortia may live on in the legislation, but isn’t in favour any more…) being kept on a tighter, more centrally-controlled rein than even PCTs. Mental health looks like it will be steered a lot from the centre, being a mentioned "key service area" which " which would gain particular benefit from dedicated professional and clinical leadership" (shades of the NSF?). Oh, and 3,500 staff for the central board, including at varying sub-national (4 big commissioning sectors, looking rather like larger regional health authorities, with one being based of course in the DH’s adored Leeds, and then local level too) and local levels, CCG authorisation not "one-off" but ongoing,a hefty regime of centrally set targets, make it evident that while change is a-coming, that change may be in a hitherto unsuspected direction. This will run and run… Some ‘geniuses’ say that they’d like to see the NHS scrapped, but a stark warning about the private sector and healthcare, from one who was high up in a multinational can be read here.

To finish off on NHS reform, please do read this for its cracking wit:

…there is a bet going on between the Cabinet on who can make the most ludicrously ill-judged intervention on NHS reform.
There must be a fair few quid riding on this bet.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley (saviour, liberator) set the bar stratospherically high with his dire speech to the NHS Confederation

And Mr Cameron has risen to the challenge like a leaping, shiny-faced salmon.

Also stewing are the Govt’s plans to ‘open up’ all public services. Overshadowed by News of the World type stuff (a good time to smuggle out other stuff?), the attached pdf is of the White paper (which reads like a Green paper). Prof Peter Beresford is very astute on the vision of this document. Big Society,eh? So good and so forward-thinking…why just the other week, Francis Maude suggested that redundant public sector managers should take on unpaid roles with charities. That’s certainly original thinking, but possibly won’t allow said folk to pay for their groceries. The white paper is remarkable for what it doesn’t contain, which is any real acknowledgement of the social value of er, public and social services, and many expect the large private sector to steam in: "We only have to look at the Work Programme to see that when markets open up, large private sector providers move in and squeeze out smaller organisations”. That worked ever so well with Southern Cross (good piece by a social worker on the perils of private sector provision, as opposed to state or voluntary sector) …Can the rhetoric of "reform" be trusted?

Let’s get out of the kitchen now and take a break before exploring the rest of the property.
Warning, hard-hats may be required for the next instalment as we enter areas which are becoming unsafe, rickety and downright dangerous, namely the murky areas of benefits/welfare system reform (that darn word again?). Plus some other stuff too.

To be continued in part 2…

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

MHNE Bulletin 4th July.doc


MHRN NE newsletter.pdf

Open Public Services.PDF

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