Monday, February 25, 2008

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.......

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