In the run up to the General Election, I’m really pleased to say that at ubu we are welcoming the boost to mental health services promised; it provides a real opportunity to deliver improvements.
But there is a very real chance that the golden opportunity could be missed if we lose our focus. Simon Steven’s announcements about the changes he wanted to see in the new NHS really cheered many of us up as currently all election parties seem to be on a mission to re-institutionalize supports for the most vulnerable in our communities or alternatively reduce the quality of their supports.
Here at last, thanks to Simon Steven’s is a real chance to make a contribution, to collaborate and to deliver real improvements to people health wellbeing and care, saving the country some of that all important cash at the same time. I pause for breath though, because this whole new approach is dependent upon some of those who currently work in the NHS changing the way they work.
ubu was among the first to embrace person led supports, pets as therapy, uStep amongst a number of new ways of working now all becoming commonplace. Similarly, we pioneered giving vulnerable adults their own homes to extend their independence and give them more dignity. Again, it is becoming more widespread as the benefits to everyone are recognized.
We are no longer alone. Across the country there are other organisations, not just in the provision of learning disabilities, Autism or mental health support, who have developed consumer-centric models of enablement and practice that have improved the lives of people. There are so many new approaches launched which would suggest some within the NHS need to abandon their old style of attitudes to health care and embrace such changes.
In the field of mental health care there is set to be a focus on young people, pregnant women and returning war veterans. Promises made include resources to treat more than 100,000 young people by 2020. Waiting time standards for children, family support work, better training for clinicians, and embracing new technologies such as help via websites and apps, as well as a hard hitting anti-stigma campaign.
My big fear is that these plans must be translated into action, they need to look to the future and consult widely with a wide range of folk otherwise the initiative and engagement will be lost. It needs a true embracing culture. With sound leadership
To drive up improvements in the lives of the people we all serve, administrators and commissioners must ensure there are some real checks and measures built in to new innovating practice so that society has accountability, that best practice is looked for externally, consulting as widely as possible.
Sadly some of this new energy being promoted by the government could be lost. The current system is too fractured, too complex and too under-resourced and while this money goes some way to change things, there is still work to be done!
At this very critical time we call upon all politicians, organisations and voters to open their ears and really hear the voice of those we are all here to serve.