Monday, February 25, 2008

In Mental Health Birmingham UK The LONE LINKSTER Rides Out

UserWatch thanks the UK wide contacts who got the information about the costs of the new public scrutiny orgs : LINks (Local Involvement Networks) which are being put into place after April 1st 2008 to replace Patient & Public Involvement Forums that become defunct after March 31st 2008 . Kakatoo (UserWatch Roving Toonist) swears the LONE LINKSTER has been seen riding the horse "Impossible Levitation"...We think that's a sideswipe at LINKO who is probably out there searching for a Man Called HOST ....Yes the poor outsider who becomes an organising guardian of the LINks tribe but gets hoisted by the pectorals to see the Sun spirit or something.....Until then its case of HIYOOOO NOTHINGNESS.......Especially in Birmingham UK . We do know that the LINK's roll out is being handled very badly (some insider estimations are real public scrutiny may be difficult until Sept 2008) probably in order to allow the NHS chaos to pull its pants up before the usual Brown skid marks are seen

WRITTEN Answer 22.2.08

Stephen O'Brien (Eddisbury, Conservative) | Hansard source :

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the budget was for (a) community health councils, (b) each community health council, (c) patient involvement forums and (d) each patient involvement forum in the last full financial year of their operation; and what the budget is for (i) local involvement networks and (ii) each local involvement network in the first full financial year of their operation.

Ann Keen (Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Health Services), Department of Health)
| Hansard source :

Community Health Councils (CHCs), Patient and Public Involvement Forums (PPIFs) and local involvement networks (LINks) - all support a stronger voice for patients and the public. However, they all have different functions, geographical coverage and support infrastructure. Furthermore, LINks differ from CHCs and Forums because they cover social care as well as health services. Funds allocated to support CHCs, forums and LINks were distributed through three very different mechanisms—via Department of Health Regional Offices and health authorities for CHCs, via the Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health (CPPIH) and Forums Support Organisations (FSOs) to Forums and through local authorities (LAs) and hosts for LINks.

In the case of CHCs and PPIFs, it is not possible to provide exact figures for each CHC and PPIF. However, we can provide an indication of average allocation based on total funding divided by the number of CHCs and PPIFs. We can identify the allocation made available to each LINk, as the funding route is direct from the department to each individual LA.

£/number Total funding for CHCs in the last full year of operation (2002-03) = 23 million

Number of CHCs = 184
Average allocation per CMC = 125,000

Total funding for PPIFs in the last full year of operation (2007-08) = 28 million
Number of PPIFs = 398 Average allocation per PPIF = 70,300

Total funding for LINks in their first full year of operation (2008-09)
28 million
Number of LINks

Actual amount allocated to each LA per LINk for 2008-09
See following table :

2008-09 LA's & £ costs as proportion of /million

Hartlepool 0.099
Herefordshire 0.11
Isle of Wight Council 0.115
Isles of Scilly 0.061
Kingston upon Hull 0.173
Leicester 0.186
Luton 0.131
Medway 0.136
Middlesbrough 0.122
Milton Keynes 0.129
North East Lincolnshire 0.120
North Lincolnshire 0.114
North Somerset 0.121
Nottingham 0.184
Peterborough 0.122
Plymouth 0.151
Poole 0.103
Portsmouth 0.125
Reading 0.104
Redcar and Cleveland 0.116
Rutland 0.069
Slough 0.104
South Gloucestershire 0.124
Southampton 0.141
Southend-on-Sea 0.123
Stockton-on-Tees 0.126
Stoke-on-Trent 0.163
Swindon 0.112
Telford and The Wrekin 0.119
Wiltshire 0.181
Worcestershire 0.222
Bedfordshire 0.171
Buckinghamshire 0.182
Cambridgeshire 0.219
Cheshire 0.257
Barking and Dagenham 0.147
Barnet 0.182
Bexley 0.131
Brent 0.185
Bromley 0.151
Croydon 0.188
Ealing 0.183
Enfield 0.179
Haringey 0.172
Harrow 0.138
Havering 0.133
Hillingdon 0.147
Hounslow 0.142
Kingston upon Thames 0.102
Merton 0.123
Newham 0.214
Redbridge 0.156
Richmond upon Thames 0.107
Sutton 0.118
Waltham Forest 0.164
Camden 0.176
Greenwich 0.188
Hackney 0.207
Thurrock 0.111
Torbay 0.119
Warrington 0.117
West Berkshire 0.095
Windsor and Maidenhead 0.093
Wokingham 0.087
Bath and York 0.108
North East Somerset 0.109
Blackburn with Darwen 0.123
Blackpool 0.126
Bournemouth 0.119
Bracknell Forest 0.086
Brighton and Hove 0.148
Bristol 0.210
Darlington 0.096
Derby 0.150
East Riding of Yorkshire 0.158
Halton 0.111
Cornwall 0.252
Cumbria 0.232
Derbyshire 0.314
Devon 0.298
Dorset 0.183
Durham 0.256
East Sussex 0.236
Essex 0.480
Gloucestershire 0.231
Hampshire 0.378
Hertfordshire 0.361
Kent 0.492
Lancashire 0.454
Leicestershire 0.219
Lincolnshire 0.285
Norfolk 0.342
North Yorkshire 0.222
Northamptonshire 0.253
Northumberland 0.165
Nottinghamshire 0.304
Oxfordshire 0.222
Shropshire 0.150
Somerset 0.226
Staffordshire 0.301
Suffolk 0.280
Surrey 0.333
Warwickshire 0.212
West Sussex 0.281
Hammersmith/Fulham 0.143
Islington 0.170
Kensington and Chelsea 0.140
Lambeth 0.207
Lewisham 0.197
Southwark 0.211
Tower Hamlets 0.208
Wandsworth 0.169
Westminster 0.174
City of London 0.063
Barnsley 0.152
Bolton 0.166
Bradford 0.259
Bury 0.122
Calderdale 0.130
Coventry 0.178
Doncaster 0.172
Dudley 0.173
Gateshead 0.140
Kirklees 0.202
Knowsley 0.140
North Tyneside 0.134
Oldham 0.151
Rochdale 0.147
Rotherham 0.160
Salford 0.159
Sandwell 0.202
Sefton 0.172
Solihull 0.119
South Tyneside 0.127
St Helens 0.132
Stockport 0.149
Sunderland 0.176
Tameside 0.146
Trafford 0.130
Wakefield 0.182
Walsall 0.170
Wigan 0.175
Wirral 0.200
Wolverhampton 0.169
Birmingham 0.558
Leeds 0.308
Liverpool 0.291
Manchester 0.288
Newcastle upon Tyne 0.171
Sheffield 0.263


The remaining £l million, after LA allocations are made, will be used to support national LINks activity.

Mental Health Discriminatory And Dodgy Practices ?

UserWatch UK has been contacted with claims of "discriminatory practice" after the last story first reported on by Robert Dex of South London ICnetwork where South London And Maudsley Mental Health Foundation NHS Trust is initiating a handout of cash for patient improvements but only on the basis that those applying should be "members" of its Foundation Trust. So much for the NHS recognising equality of access to its services and more relevant, its resources.

UserWatch understands that MONITOR has been contacted about this discriminatory practice

MONITOR is the regulator of NHS Trusts that are operating as Foundation Trusts . Foundation Trusts are:

  • a new type of NHS organisation, established as independent public benefit corporations;
  • free from central government control and from strategic health authority performance management;
  • providers of healthcare according to core NHS principles - free care, based on need and not ability to pay;
  • accountable to local people, who can become members and governors;
  • free to innovate for the benefit of their local community and patients;
  • able to decide for themselves what capital investment is needed in order to improve their services;
  • free to retain any surpluses they generate and to borrow in order to support this investment; and
  • authorised and monitored by Monitor - Independent Regulator of NHS Foundation Trusts

So they are free to innovate apparently but at the potential expense of those people who are not "members" of their rather strange mish mash of club type "democractic" arrangements. UserWatch believes the competition for parts of the 10k is being used as a part membership drive by the back door.

There appears to be a lot of back door practices in FT Trusts when it comes to membership drives we have even heard about this in Birmingham where a member of the Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust contacted a User and explained:

"You only have to fill in a membership form like my neighbour did "

"Its only a piece of paper" ....."nothing much" ....

Really ? It appears to be far more to us - even a way of creating another circle of : "who's in and who's out", that Service Users often experience in the new internal user-Trust politics of "mental health"

In Birmingham the Mental Health Trust previously offered "Shopping vouchers" if people went out and got members...Does MONITOR really think this type of practice has probity ? More Later - we'll see what happens in greaseworld.......

Saturday, February 23, 2008

NHS Blow Services Away While Mental Health Users Get Wrexercised

UserWatch hears that South London And Maudsley Foundation Mental Health NHS Trust (SLAM) are offering 10k for people to come up with ideas for activities that can make Users happy so long as its not illegal and so on, and so bore-th.....

Now that is interesting because a User of SLAM that contacted Kakatoo (roving UserWatch toonster) claimed that a certain Gym in Lewisham London that is providing services for mental health Users paid for by the Primary Care Trust (associated with SLAM) created some problems for them . They apparently went there deeply depressed only to experience that their troubles were not welcome in an attitude of :

"We dont bring our problems here"

When the User protested about that, it caused them problems and later on via attempts to get matters resolved with the PCT on board, we understand SLAM got involved and made matters worse according to the User. To add insult to injury the Gym in Lewisham London the User claimed, identified them as a problem .

So lets repeat this and add it up then in good old NHS paradoxology.. The depressed User notified the need for some exercise and openly did so and went along to a NHS PCT purchased service. They get there and then their depressed attitude is not wanted : "We do not bring our problems here " (HUH?) . They complain to the NHS PCT and their NHS Trust SLAM (who have history of showing antagonism towards them they say ) puts a spike in the complaints process and renders it difficult to trust and use .

Later the same User reports they go back to the Gym in Lewisham London where the Gym still have an attitude that somehow the User is partly the problem .. Meanwhile while having denied mental health users their right to their "depressed reality" in the background is noted a really wonderful uplifting rappy song which advocated "sucking cock and smoking dope "

Ahhh ......We seeeeee.......Alternatives to recognising depression .....Cocksucking and puffery of some sort ...How helpful...

Here's the article by Bobby Dex of IC South London about SLAM's 10k initiative below :

Mental health trust to invest £10k in joy Feb 22 2008 By Robert Dex

NHS bosses are handing out thousands of pounds of cash to see if money really can buy happiness.

The South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) is asking people to come up with a plan they think will make someone happy and then apply to them for the money to pay for it . The trust has £10,000 to share and will give it out in bundles from £50 to £500.

Head of mental health promotion Tony Coggins said the project was based on the ideas of positive psychology and there were four rules for any application.

He said: "The money cannot be spent on just yourself or on anything illegal.

"The idea must involve at least two people and the applicant must be a member of SLaM."

Suggested ideas include using the money to learn a new talent or get fit with a group of friends.

Tony said: "We are asking people what keeps them happy and well. "We want to get people thinking about mental health in the way they think about their physical health now."People know that exercising, eating five portions of fruit and veg a day, and not binge drinking are good for their physical health but they are less aware of mental health."We don't have an equivalent of five portions a day for mental health. Doing things like volunteering or doing a kindness for someone else increases your satisfaction, and things that reduce isolation are good for mental health as well. "

The estimated cost of mental ill-health across the UK is £77billion a year in things like days off and the cost of medication and this money is a relatively small amount in that context. Successful bidders will have to take pictures of whatever they do and have a 15-minute interview with someone at SLaM about the project.

To join SLaM go online at or call 0800 019 6075.


Monday, February 11, 2008

New Social Inclusion Activities in Mental Health - Riding Side Zero (NHS Style)

Proof now exists , sadly only in sketch form, that three legged Zallions do exist and they transport Purple Bunnies around looking for the Law Of Somewhere .....This is probably a mental health Service User Social Inclusion fantasy though, emerging through a public relations hole into a kind of reality, but who cares since all mental health Service Users anyway are given fantasy choices with runny dollops of fuck all toffee on them ....Annnd extra sugar ......

We hear of course that the new Local Involvement Networks (LINks) that the Govt intend to replace the statutory Patient & Public Involvement Forums with (PPI's end on March 31st 2008) are riding around in nowhere-particular-land....Alice we confirm was asked to join but answered with a laugh :

"Holes only lead to Mad Hatter tea parties and the need for treatment you will never get anyway because it's costly to pay for a lot of tea bags "

We do know that the LINks pre-amblish rimming-inter meeting in Birmingham UK at the Lakeside Centre Aston University has taken place and we hear the grass around the center went brown with despair and daffodils all turned black around the centre .....

More later, on LINks - you wonderful readers you out there in amongst the Law Of Somewhere.....

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Social Spaghettification Model Of Mental Health In The UK And Locally


Spaghetti Politics

By UserWatch

The UK wide social and political forces acting on mental health economies and locally to Birmingham and Solihull are almost totally driven now by a welfare benefit purge across the whole spectrum of mental health by the Govt ...We note the US connections too - they've been talked about in the UK and are influential in being pretty mean to human beings

(See BBC Wisconsin & Tory Story )

Locally new constituency groups (in Birmingham called Community Interest Groups CIGs) are springing up to examine how to get the unhealthy "workless" back to work ... The signals have been clear for years though to mental health Service Users who know that the bureaucratic power of the NHS is actually anti-patient in mental health at the point of REAL recovery choices . In others words if you are a mental health patient you cannot really choose and shape the recovery environment (post crisis) you need for better mental health - the NHS alongside other agencies crushes that. Often quite cleverly by labelling Users and gatekeepering them outside of treatment regimes . So how some Users recover on the ladder and gradual-rung approach is already undermined UserWatch observes. (See too the Taxpayers Alliance story about the lethal NHS)

Service Users in Birmingham UK have approached UserWatch to tell us the "Social Inclusion" treatment and recovery work in the local Birmingham And Solihull Mental Health Trust is just "too work and training orientated"....Its a big turn off for people with core problems of just surviving who they are .. But the "fitter" (mainly staff and a few Users too ) are driving the agenda rather than looking at it as a more recovery-by-degree laden agenda in terms of application. We wonder if terms like "Fascism of the fit" might be adopted in mental health circles ?

The lost opportunities for REAL patient choice (which equates to careful growth under the control of the User) can be traced to the way the costly US inspired NIMHE (100 million by 2008 end) and the mental health charities shaped the mental health environment for themselves and their own pet views via numerous advisory groups into the highest reaches of the Govt . The Dept of Work and Pensions (DWP) created their own workarseing welcomed spin, courtesy of the Sainsbury Centre For Mental Health (SCMH) under Dr Bob Groves and others like Helen Lockett who espoused work-externalisation of day services in the NHS services for Users.

A politically calculated attention grabbing substitute of "stigma flag waving" was also (from 2003 onwards) put in the way of patient's vision and has misued their "Voices" more generally as the influential work dominating policy influenced by the few dominated the many, and an SCMH connected mental health charity named Mental Health Media led in that .. Angela Greatley the CEO of SCMH was heavily involved in that too as a Trustee of Mental Health Media ...Their ideology is still being spun out as choices of treatment in mental health lags and a new work push is being played out and employers will be targeted ...And of course naughty people who use the term "Nutters"....

False User-voice mechanisms across the UK to play to the audience have also been put into place by NHS Trusts and others and those "Voices" have often been compromised by cherry picking the most useful malleable Users and paying them to become NHS managed bureaucrats, rather too directly ...In Birmingham it is rife .

The NEW Labour mental health Service User thus is assailed by great forceful holes around them made up of diversionary (from Patient Choice) bureaucratic enrichment.

Selective and selected service-bureau-ex-Users now rule the roosts across the UK . This makes a nonsense of equable social inclusion. Its retrograde - its back to the days of the staff "ward favourites" - played out in another way . "Modernised" ..

Trusts dominate the agenda with ritualistic good performance image-play and support a few groups here and there in their local various provinces.. Selective Inclusion though like this still means "NO Choice" - No help in some localities and in Birmingham and Solihull the Trust orientate around the creation of some Users Groups that have implied a whole new section of new bureau staff ... Oh right ...A bit more bureaucracy ...More lost opportunity for an economy of real patient CHOICE and locality cash-underpinned groups.

We know of one User led group that was very sustaining but hit funding problems and though it catered for a lot of Users per week the local Trust has left it to husk and blow away ..

"The Trust is actually in competition effectively with independent (Service) User led groups in Birmingham" Said one Service User to UserWatch.

"But we have always know this for years - it favours its own inward looking elites "

Says another accusingly ...

" It likes control in Birmingham - it cannot let go " Added another when a UserWatch local correspondent spoke to them ..

The solution of truly democratising mental health has probably disappeared under NEW Labour who want to make everyone regardless of degree of capacity into a "Freudian" worker

(see our last story on David Freud here with cartoon) now in macro conditions that hardly favour that. Yet many Users are still bereft of lives of choices of treatments, supports and power and better creativity ...

It has been kept that way by corporate service delivery and the massively crushing politics of the Dept Of Health rather than breaking the NHS chaining monopoly with Patient CHOICE ...

It could have been exemplified in "Therapy Choices" with a mixed skilled base of private and public being driven to quality by Patient Choice ..If only some had the money NIMHE used up without much audit of what value it had really produced

It could have happened in social inclusion terms if medium to long term Users had been given the right to use earmarked 2 - 3 year sustainable grants to form local groups in their local community centres which they could have run and then re-applied for mental health specific funding.....But all this "Clubhousing type talk" by the authorities in 2006 in Birmingham has replaced by "We are in control" from the local bureaucracies in health and social care...

They could not even be bothered to inform Users properly about the use of Direct Payments (a local authority grant based method to purchase selective services by Users) and Birmingham UK has disgracefully low figures of 1.8 per 100,000 of mental health Service Users using that empowering method ..

The mental health charities are also guilty of stoking the anti choices situation up with advice and carefully timed system delivery therapy logics (one size fits all CBT ) that have favoured themselves in the eyes of the Govt embedded as they are within the new creation of an increasingly "Charitised Welfare State"

Who remains at the bottom after several years of false promises by New Labour ? The Patient without recovery treatment choices whose "voice" should have been measured by a culture of recovery treatments guided by themselves through their own purchasing power - not by the creation of a new class of Service Users who have diverted power and NHS money into new bureau-career structures ..

UserWatch has no objection to Independent User Organisations who are accountable first and foremost to the democracy not to the NHS bureacracy which has a vested interest in creating more of itself at the default expense of the patient. But New Labour set the tone ..

Users Voices have to become their own, through their own owned choices of recovery treatments through purchasing powers....Otherwise in the great noodles voices and mystification surrounding the mental health economy, the forces over-archingly governing the Users miss the point, and destroy the coherency of User needs and experience, making it into a tangled spaghetti politics that tears medium to longer term Service Users apart ...

Divide and rule sauce anyone ? - On your social spaghetti experiences ? Or do you just want to be sick ?........We hear there is talk though in Birmingham now of large petition guns a-forming to combat the cowboy ways of the new Spaghetti Services with their zero hoops some Users are disappearing in ...

Linking Stories

(See also Richard Blundell Paper here )

(See A4E ref Palestinian Story Connection here)

Saturday, February 02, 2008

David Freud 's Analized Rage At Incapacity Benefit Claimants

Sigmund UserVotch has been in contact with the collective unconcious of the Dept of Work and Pensions and Dept of Health social engineers ....Haintly figures of-course, as you well know out there in UK-contrary-standards-land, have been questioned as to the Fraudian receipts of cash for troughing and general oinking ...(see BBC Story about Dept of Work & Pension Secretary of State Peter Hain )

Dave Freud Govt appointed ID Knight has reckoned his work might be under threat with his patron Haint currently prowling the sulphur trails after resigning, so with his bright brownish sword pulled from some kind of math symboled scabbard at his rear and big puff of superego breath he has jabbed at the Incapacity Benefit IB dirty little dragoners .....

After all, money can be made from IB ...Yes a lot too ...And the DWP and DoH want knackered up claimants and disabled peoples to be fitter for work that (don't mention it) far too many migrant workers all over the place in Britain have currently got .... China vouchers (travel help to China ) are being discussed too - where all the work has gone ... Suggestions that cripples can lash their walking sticks together to create long distance rafts are also being discussed at the DWP and it is rumoured Dave and other sturgeon egg eaters will be invited to talks...

Meanwhile UK wide local grants from the lottery have been affected by the Olympics bid of 9 -12 billion but the DWP claims this provides an incentive for people to dream about rafting off groups abroad to create social swimming and other engagements ....User-Votch put all this to Dave :

"Dreams are Good " Says Dave slurping on Sturgeon eggs ......

"Great Uncle Siggy said it's good to wish for things and I want more companies out there to get rich and earn good money from claimants while perhaps the claimants raft about looking for China ...Its my dream ....."

"Mental health patients could become plumbers in the NHS " Says Dave ....

"There's apparently plenty of paper mache like substances that needs clearing out of NHS sewers too " He adds ..

Yes....We heard about that Dave .....Something to do with patient's records ?

BBC Story Links And Below

Fewer than a third of the 2.7 million or so people claiming incapacity benefit are legitimate claimants, a government welfare adviser has said.

David Freud, an investment banker, said up to 185,000 claimants work illegally while on the benefit.

He told the Daily Telegraph it was "ludicrous" medical checks were carried out by a claimant's own GP.

The Department for Work and Pensions said the number claiming incapacity benefits was at its lowest since 2000.

"But we agree with David Freud that there are many more people who could and should be supported to move off benefits and into work," a spokesman added.

"We are implementing his review and have already committed to replacing Incapacity Benefit and introducing a new medical test that places the emphasis on what work a person can do, rather than what they can't."

Mr Freud published a report on welfare last year which was highly influential on reforms outlined by new Work and Pensions Secretary James Purnell this week.

Proper support

Shadow work and pensions secretary Chris Grayling said every claimant should have an independent medical check.

"Those fit to work should have their Incapacity Benefit withdrawn immediately and those with the potential to work should get proper support to help them back into employment," he added.

Liberal Democrat spokesman Danny Alexander said: "Millions of people on Incapacity Benefit want to work and would be doing so today if the government had put the right support in place."

Mr Freud, who said the system was "a recipe for getting people on to IB" has recommended private firms be paid "bounties" to get claimants off incapacity benefit and into jobs.

He said there was a "classic conflict of interest" with GPs carrying out claimants' medical checks, saying: "They're frightened of legal action."

Meanwhile, compared with unemployment benefit, incapacity claimants received more money and were not "hassled".

"The system we have at the moment sends 2.64 million people into a form of economic house arrest and encourages them to stay at home and watch daytime TV. We're doing nothing for these people," he told the paper.

Conflict of interest

Since the 1980s, there have been claims that successive governments have allowed the IB roll to grow in order to keep down the more politically sensitive count of the unemployed.

"When the whole rot started in the 1980s we had 700,000 (claimants). I suspect that's much closer to the real figure than the one we have now," Mr Freud said.

Recent figures showed that more than 500,000 young people under 35 are now claiming incapacity benefit. About 40% of recipients are claiming for mental health problems, some 250,000 because of stress-related illness, while others cite alcoholism, obesity or eating disorders.

Mr Freud said a new system, with private firms and voluntary organisations paid by results in getting claimants into lasting jobs and those who refuse to co-operate having benefits docked, could be in place within five years.

He told the paper it would be "economically rational" to pay as much as £62,000 to a company which managed to place an incapacity benefit claimant in a job which lasted three years or more.

Incapacity benefit costs the Treasury about £12bn a year.