The Government is launching a public consultation with the aim to find better measures to deal with child poverty. The consultation will explore how to best portray the reality of child poverty, and will look at: income and material deprivation, lack of work, unmanageable debt, poor housing, parental skill level, access to quality education, family stability and parental health. This consultation is open until the 15th February 2013; if you are keen to express your views on how child poverty measures should be improved then this is not to be missed.
Click here to take part in the consultation and for further information.
Newcastle City Council has published its draft budget propsoal for 2016, titled 'Budget 2016: fair choices for tough times'. In the propsoal cuts to the Councils budget of £90 million are suggested. A consultation on the budget will run until February 2013 - part of which will be a for voluntary and community organisations that should not be missed if you are keen to share your views and express how you believe this will impact the communities and people you support; MHNE will publish the details of this when it has been confirmed.
Click here for further information and to read 'Budget 2016: fair choices for tough times'.
MHNE are shocked to learn that children as young as 11 have been detained in police cells under the mental health act and in some instances for more than 24 hours. This situation is totally unacceptable anywhere but particularly in a well developed and rich country which prides itself on democratic principles and well established care practices such as England. MHNE will investigate if any of these detentions occurred in the North East and campaign for better facilities in an attempt to make sure it never happens again.
BBC News has reported that 347 children, some as young as 11, were held in police cells under the Mental Health Act across England and Wales in 2011 because officers thought that they were mentally ill. The Act gives police the power to detain anyone they deem to be mentally ill and in 'need of care or control' for up to 72 hours in a secure location for assessment. These locations will usually be in a hospital, care home or a similar suitable place - an adolescent psychiatric units or a children's home in the case of children - but it can also be in a police cell if these are not available locally.
42 police forces provided data for this study, 35 of which had held children under 18 in custody under the Act last year. The children held had not necessarily committed any crimes; in some cases they were detained for over 24 hours.
A supporter of MHNE commented: 'This is absolutely shocking and unacceptable. Contrary to Simon Cole and Norman Lamb's comments I don't think there is ever a circumstance where a police cell is an acceptable place to detain a child regardless of whether they are exhibiting violent behaviour towards others or themselves (which in my opinion is a form of extreme mental distress). It's inhumane and I would go as far as suggesting that this is a form of child abuse in that it can only serve to exacerbate and distress an already vulnerable and distressed child.
It is a shocking state of affairs that in the 21st century we are locking children up when they are ill and in need of care and support. The government's plans to create diversion services need to be monitored and it is essential that we ensure they are appropriate and adequate and I would dispute whether a room within a custodial station is either of these.'
MHNE would be very interested in hearing the views of our members or of any case studies you may know of around this matter.
More than 150 people involved in the mental health field in the North East shared positive ideas to cope with cuts in funding at a significant mental health regional conference.
The Making it Happen event, was organised by Mental Health North East in conjunction with Regional Mind, and held at The Glebe Centre in Murton, Co. Durham on 9th November and sponsored by Awards for All and the Millfield House Foundation.
Speakers included Grahame Morris MP for Easington; Dr Satinder Sanghera, GP and Clinical Commissioning Group Lead; Miriam Davidson, Director of Public Health - Darlington; Vicki Nash, Head of Policy and Campaigns, National Mind; Ian Taylor, Director, North East Procurement Organisation; and Professor Fred Robinson, Durham University Business School.
One Voice Network, as part of the 3rd Sector Strategy currently being developed across County Durham, is surveying the state of the sector twice per year to provide a 'snapshot' of the sector in the region and to see how it is coping in the current economic climate. The results of the first survey have now been published and can be accessed here; questions were taken from the 'Survivng not Thriving' survey by VONNE and it covers February, March and April 2012. 47 organisations responded to this survey and 22 of these organisations were interviewed in person by One Voice Network staff. The survey received an even response from all localities across the county, from various sizes and structures of organisations. These respondents address a wide range of issues and support some of the most vulnerable people in the county.
The second stage of the exercise is now here, and OVN are offering you the opportunity to take part in the survey again for a new report which will be published in January 2013. The information gathered will then be shared with public sector partners, so as to inform them of the work undertaken by the 3rd Sector Strategy Group, and with the wider voluntary and community sector.
If you would like to take part in the survey please click here.
The Spartacus Group, in anticipation of Professor Harrington's 3rd Independent review, have published their own reveiw of of the Work Capability Assesment (WCA) drawn from the knowledge of those that have personally experienced a review.
The People’s Review of the Work Capability Assessment includes the experiences of more than 70 individuals who claim that they have been wrongly assessed, badly treated or forced to go to tribunal to secure the benefits to which they are legally entitled.
The review also explores what has been said about Atos, the private company delivering the WCA, by the Government, MP’s, courts, professional bodies, medical organisations and individual medical professionals; it includes full references.
Click here to read 'The People’s Review of the Work Capability Assessment'.
The NHS Commissioning Board (NHS CB) and the Department of Health have published their detailed agreement showing how the NHS CB will drive improvements in the health of England’s population through its commissioning of certain public health services. The agreement sets out the outcomes to be achieved in exercising these public health functions and provides ring fenced funding for the NHS CB to commission public health services. The services commissioned as part of this agreement are those where there is, for example, alignment with national clinical pathways and added value of central commissioning:
• national immunisation programmes
• national routine screening programmes (non-cancer)
• national routine cancer screening programmes
• children’s public health services from pregnancy to age 5
• child health information systems
• public health services for people in prison and other places of detention
• sexual assault referral centres
Click here to read the Public health functions to be exercised by the NHS Commissioning Board document
Click here for further information on this or the services included in the agreement.
The North East Dementia Alliance is currently conducting a project entitled Support and Care for People with Dementia from Minority Communities. As part of the research for this project they are keen to encourage as many people as possible from the North East and across the UK to become involved in the project and share any knowledge and experience you may have, in particular those that involve:
• Services that are available in the North East for individuals living with dementia from minority communities.
• The barriers to individuals living with dementia from minority communities accessing care and support and examples of effective interventions to tackle these barriers.
• Examples of good practice and existing knowledge, nationally and locally, relating to the support and care for people living with dementia from minority communities.
The minority communities that will form the focus of this research will be from one of the following groups: black and minority ethnic communities; gypsy and traveller communities; lesbian, gay and bisexual communities; transsexual communities; religious minority communities; individuals with disabilities and younger people with dementia.
All information gathered will be shared in a practical report that will benefit both individuals involved in the provision of services to people living with dementia from minority communities and the individuals who use those services. We therefore hope that you will be able to find time to share your knowledge on this subject and look forward to hearing from you.
If you are interested in getting involved with this project please contact Peter Prior on Peter.email@example.com or on 07979390858 before the 17th December 2012.
Many of you will have seen that Schizophrenia has made recent headlines. Zoe Williams, a Guardian columnist, has written an article that we think is of great interest to our members. The article looks at Schizophrenia and how, although it shouldn't be, it is a 'life sentence' for many and can be read in full here.
The Guardian has reported that, according to official analysts, Councils in northern, urban cities and London boroughs with high levels of deprivation predominantly run by Labour have seen their budgets cut by almost 10 times the amount lost by mostly Tory-administered authorities in rural southern England during the government's first spending round.