Monday, September 18, 2006

The Death Of Day Services ?

Userwatch has had material sent to it by a concerned pary regarding one Mental Health Day Centre in Birmingham UK known as the Albert Rd Day Centre in Aston. The Day Centre caters for those with severe and enduring mental health issues.

Apparently some changes appear to have already taken place which have affected Service Users there .

A two page announcement dated Sept. 13th 2006 was placed upon the Day Centre wall. It claimed in its opening lines that (the Centre) :

"Albert Rd Is Changing !! "

It was signed off by a member of staff .

Further on in the statement it claims that the Centre will only be open for two days a week "Monday and Thursday" as from October .

The document appears not so much a lawful consultation as one might expect , but an announcement of a set of activities that are going to happen and everyone will have to fall in and comply . Much of the announcement deals with ideas to "socially include" folk into community activities and the potential to join community groups . What seems to be the strong impression though is that that there has not been a fully joined up consultation with the service users at Albert Rd Day Centre ..

In this regard Userwatch knows of further material dated 18th Sept 2006 , sent to Birmingham City Council to Catherine Underwood of the Social Care Services and Peter Davidson who heads the mental health services , which queries them as to whether a proper consultation has been done .

An email reads :

"Dear Catherine & Peter

There does appear to be some evidence of changes taking place at Albert Rd Day Centre for people with severe and enduring mental illnesses without a full consultation happening . There is a two page announcement from Jane Thakoordin (who works there) who in that document of Sept 13th 2006 announces :

"Albert Rd Is Changing !!! "

And then she goes on to outline changes which involve less access to the Day Centre. Can you clarify the position fully please and explain what consultations you have done with Service Users & public affected nearby ? "

This is not the only alleged pattern of changes of mental health Day Centres across Birmingham which appears to have less than fully open patient & public consultations which should be announced to all concerned under Sect. 11 of the Health and Social Care Act 2001 . In fact it appears to be something of a habit of the services one Birmingham Service User claims who contacted UserWatch

There is another Centre named the Hawksley Day Centre in Birmingham where the patients have been "mainstreamed" and helped to become "socially Included" using library facilities , and there are claims that some are using nearby colleges . Audits for how effective these things are however seem to be thin on the ground. Some keen eyed Service Users feel the flurry of "social inclusion" activity will in fact strain some Service Users and are hoping more sobriety comes to the mental health "social inclusion" services ...

Others are asking : Where are the Day Centre services going ? Will any Centres be left in a couple of years ?

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