HELLO THERE!

HELLO THERE!
WELCOME TO ALL FELLOW CAMPAIGNERS for DISABILITY RIGHTS - a pan disability blog connecting my work with, EQUAL LIVES, the National Survivor User Network (NSUN) and the Survivor History Group.
--- HEDDWCH

Protest, Norwich Job Centre

Protest, Norwich Job Centre
Fatso Gets Militant!

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Rosies Posies

So, enthusiastically waving goodbye to Rosie Winterton who, shall we say, tenaciously charmed the Health Committee when they questioned her about the shortcomings of PPI in 2005 and, shall we say, determinedly championed the originally awful travesty of healthcare, the Mental Health Bill in Parliament (see below), we see that two of her important strands of responsibility: mental health and Patient and Public Involvement in Health have been divided between two different Ministers.

When I came across the name Ann Keen, it sounded small tinkles in the recesses of that amorphous mess given the label: my brain. Is this the budding politician I met at the first meetings to set up the embryo whistleblowing organisation, Freedom to Care, at Hammersmith hospital in the early 1990s? This extract from her website biography says it may well be:
Ann’s nursing background and experience of working at West Middlesex Hospital for many years as a Tutor Nurse and locally as a District Nurse have provided her with full knowledge of the health needs of her constituency. She has added to this knowledge as the General Secretary of the Community and District Nursing Association (CDNA) and previously served on the Health Select Committee.


If it is so, without going into detail, there may be reasons to be a little bit wary. Ann Keen has been handed the responsibility for Patient and Public Involvement in Health (PPI). Will her background as a health professional be a positive element for the future of service user involvement? Experience of health professionals' attitudes in this context says it doesn't bode well.

Ivan Lewis has already gained a positive reputation as Minister for Social Care. He has now been given the Mental Health portfolio as well. I think this is potentially a good move as full partnership working between local authorities and both hospital and, more importantly Primary Care Trusts is essential to the development of the full and proper heathcare needs of service users in mental health. His influence may indeed bring some much needed attention to the hugely neglected area of mental health needs in primary care.

Some news in the last two days has been thick and sudden (and maybe not entirely welcome) after a long gestation. The Mental Health Bill's final passage through the House of Lords was swifter than a Nadal service. This has been a complete surprise after talk of it ping-ponging between the Parliamentary Houses until it ran out of time. it seems the government has accepted more amendments to get it through. I understand it will receive Royal Assent before the end of July. There is a suggested implementation date of October 2008.

So we now have a Mental Health Act (an amended 1983 Act in reality) which essentially, despite some positive amendments, is still a vehicle for social control dressed up as healthcare. This government (including Rosie) should be very proud! As Andy Bell, Chair of the Mental Health Alliance, said (quoted in Community Care):
What we sadly don't have is a genuinely progressive piece of modern legislation of the kind some other countries have.

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Bweebideebobbida

Bweebideebobbida
The Tough Tenor (when I could walk)!

In a Mellotone

In a Mellotone
Ah sweet Youffff