Previous grant :

Mental Health North East 1

£56,700 (2008/2010) for development costs and consultancy including £2,000 towards a conference and £5,000 for campaigning activity.

Mental Health North East is a consortium of more than 40 mental health groups in the voluntary and community sector. A grant of £5,000 enabled extensive consultation with these groups, which range from large service providers to small advocacy groups.

A further grant funded a two-year project using a consultant for a study to assess the effects of the introduction of personalised budgets. The consultancy, undertaken by Steve Nash, resulted in a significant report ‘Chaos or empowerment’. The purpose of the project was to raise awareness of the impact of personalization on the voluntary mental health sector and the people who use it; to increase understanding of the opportunities and risks for voluntary mental health agencies; and to ensure that the sector has a voice in implementation of personalization in the North East.

Key findings included:

  • There had been a low take-up of direct payments in mental health and there were concerns that this was being repeated in self-directed support and personal budgets in both local authority social care and the NHS.
  • The majority of people who use mental health services and their carers in the North East remained unclear about personal budgets and direct payments, and how they might be affected.
  • The number of people receiving social care via a direct payment by local authorities in the North East was just over 9%, lower than any other regional except the South West.
  • North East Primary Care Trusts had not as yet experimented with personal health budgets or direct payment pilots. However the NE Mental Health Foundation NHS Trusts were part of a pilot to develop a system of Payment by Results. Planning in the NE was ahead of most other parts of the country but there were concerns about the integration between health and local authority social care.
  • Many questions remained about the practicalities of personalization and the details of local transitional arrangements. Smaller VCS providers had limited capacity to examine and handle the business change required and, in the absence of advice and help, feared they would be unable to maximize the opportunities and minimize the risks.
  • The sector did not feel involved in the design stage. There was little evidence that national milestones to support and develop the provider market were being achieved in the region.

To complete this phase of the work, MHNE designed and launched a Personalisation Website, produced a report on four local Personalisation, Mental Health and the VCS events and drafted a campaigning brief and proposals for development of an action programme.

Tel: 0191 411 1575
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