In the near-certainty that next-to-nobody will read this, because they’ll have skived off to sunbathe, melted away at their desks, or simply be on holiday (what is this thing of which you speak?) this may as well be called the Marie Celeste mailout. But it’s not. After a quick check of the subject line, it’s actually the snappily and creatively titled "Mid/late July 2013 mental health and health & social care news, views,opinions,info etc" mailout. And it’s got the usual smorgasbord of stuff, a round-up of others’ round-ups/newsletters, a linky-poo or two to things to read (or rather click on to, glance at, inwardly nod, resolve to read at some unspecified point in the future, and then forget all about) and some generalised howling into the void at the iniquities and inequities visited upon us by those in power. Though if you want just the one piece to read, read the Beresford one mentioned below, for which an extra bonus link is here, to save you the bother of reading on.
Oh, and some news of jobs (not workfare, nor indentured labour, though they’re nigh-on synonyms). Aye, proper, pukka jobs like,man (or woman).
But before the cheery stuff, the ranty, angry (it should make you tetchy at the very least) bit, which, inevitably starts with welfare and privatisation. Isn’t it remarkable how some hold the view that if a public service is failing the remedy is to privatise it, and that if a privatised service is failing the remedy is to stick with privatised services. Because that always works out so well, always.
Somehow that takes us to the topic of atos and the WCA (Work capability Assessment) process. About which we’ve written many, many times. Indeed, upon perusing previous mailouts, I can see that this sorry saga has been chronicled for over 4 years now…Some of you may have seen this apparently good news: Disabled benefits claimants test: Atos reports found ‘unacceptably poor’ But look a little closer,and the DWP announcement on Atos only criticises their reports and quite pointedly does not criticise the WCA, and in fact the DWP say no outcomes/decisions were affected.Some campaigners have read the report as an acknowledgement the WCA is flawed by the DWP. This isn’t the case. They just want a better clerical performance. and we can see that the Government is now going to pay PwC to sort out the mess of a company,Atos, who are already paid £400million + to administer a blighted assessment which is badly failing people (see the latest tragic case reported in the Daily Record) .That would be the same PwC for whom the Minister for Employment, Mark Hoban used to work,and who donate to his office. As one esteemed commentator has said,"we’ll get our private sector mates in to assess the crep caused by our other private sector mates who can continue to cause crep for our other private sector mates to assess." More from her (with some stuff on mental health too) here, and here, which shows how some "charities" are less than charitable in this whole farrago.
But, you can never be too careful, dealing with the pesky disabled and those who’ve had mental health problems. Why, they (we) could even be said to constitute a new axis of evil .
But, you know, looking at the facts, formulating (and revising) from evidence and experience is hard work, one that some Government ministers seem to have jettisoned in favour of just going with whatever they like or believe. Facts are s-o-o-o-o tedious and inconvenient. That hasn’t stopped the DWP and IDS pushing numbers out there and pretending that they have some basis in truth. But let’s leave judgement to that well-known mouthpiece for revolutionary fervour and seditious,Leftist, doggerel, the Economist to pass judgement: "questionable numbers have floated out of Iain Duncan Smith’s office into the public debate like raw sewage".
To finish off this festival of gloom, here’s that sterling piece by Prof Peter Beresford, which takes a broad overview of mental health in the UK, and makes many points, all of them salient and telling and true: Mental health is in no fit state, whatever the politicians say.
And so we rock down to attachment avenue.
We have one MHNE bulletin/newsletter thing, three from NSUN, a brace of reports on user and carer involvement (into which some of us had some input) from the National Involvement Partnership, one from those good folk at NEMHDU (newsletter 18) and last, but certainly not least, and quite possibly what you’ve been waiting for, news of job opportunities/vacancies with Tyneside Mind .
Since that’s more than enough to be getting on with, all that’s left to be done is
LAUNCHPAD Team Leader,
NTWSU&C n/wk co-chair (with Mish Loraine)
(for network business: ntwsuc)
Offices 210 and 211,
Holy Jesus Hospital,
Newcastle upon Tyne,
Tel 0191 2330382 (personal mobile 07736074213)