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Sunday, 6 September 2009

CQC mental health consultation response:

My mail today to CQC:


This is a quick response to your consultation, having only just become aware of it in your recent Newsletter.

My concerns are:

• There must be readily accessible independent advocacy services available to all users of mental health services - not just those subject to the MH Act 1983.

• MHAC has done excellent work since its establishment. CQC should ensure they are fully commited to this and, in the name of equality, consider extending the brief to informal patients.

• Rural areas are the Cinderellas of the Cinderella service. There are gross inequalities in the provision of, standards of and quality between urban and rural areas. For example, in my area (the eastern part of south Norfolk), there is almost a complete absence of mental health services with the majority of people having to travel as much as 25 miles into Norwich to get seen. The PCT knows this and has done so since before the PCT reorganisation. To my knowledge, it has taken no action - something admitted by a senior PCT manager at a recent LINks meeting. The CQC should, at the very least, ensure that all MH policies, primary and secondary, should be closely and consistently Rural Proofed.

• The government MH plan, New Horizons, sails a course away from the total medicalisation of mental health. CQC should consolidate and solidly extend this.

• Service User and Carer involvement is a hugely important development in recent years CQC should consolidate this development and pay more attention, in particular, to LINKs promotion and partnership working along with developing equal partnerships with user networks such as Shaping our Lives, the National Survivor and User Network (NSUN) and the National Association of LINks Members (NALM). Involvement should mean what it says in the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act: `

(a) promoting, and supporting, the involvement of people in the commissioning, provision and scrutiny of local care services;
(b) enabling people to monitor for the purposes of their consideration of matters mentioned in subsection (3), and to review for those purposes, the commissioning and provision of local care services;

(c) obtaining the views of people about their needs for, and their experiences of, local care services; and

(d) making—

(i) views such as are mentioned in paragraph (c) known, and

(ii) reports and recommendations about how local care services could or ought to be improved, to persons responsible for commissioning, providing, managing or scrutinising local care services.

(3) The matters referred to in subsection (2)(b) are—

(a) the standard of provision of local care services;

(b) whether, and how, local care services could be improved;

• User choice should be an overall priority.



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