Mental Health Services

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2005 Health Care Service Group Conference
31 December 2004
Carried as Amended

This conference recognises that much of the current mental health legislation dates back to the 1950’s and that even the most recent amendments to the Mental Health Act in 1983 are now seriously out of date. Many improvements to mental health services, particularly over the last 5 years, have necessitated a root and branch review of mental health law. The outcome of this review was contained both in the first draft of a new Mental Health Bill in 2002 and also in a new draft this year.

Whilst there remains mixed views on the merits of parts of the new draft, it is generally accepted that this is an improvement on the original. We do remain convinced, however, of the need for debate and discussion over many aspects of the new bill particular in view of some of the misleading information emanating from our national media. We need a well informed and well balanced debate not one that is led by misconceptions and misunderstanding.

The National Nursing Sector also welcomes the commitment secured by UNISON to fund the implementation of the national service framework for mental health services.

We call on conference to:

1.Reaffirm the commitment it gave to campaigning for Mental Health Services at the 2004 Health Conference;

2.For the Service Group Executive to discuss and recommend to the NEC that a joint working group be established across service groups to look at all aspects of mental health service provision including the new Mental Health Bill. This should also take into account the impact of Children’s trusts and service provision;

3.Seek ongoing dialogue with our affiliated committee to ensure that the commitment achieved at Warwick becomes a reality;

4.Mental Health service branches and regions to monitor closely the proposed introduction of new roles and new ways of working feeding back to the National Nursing Sector through Regional Healthcare Committees;

5.Encourage branches with mental health workers in membership to seek the views of those members in relation to the new Mental Health Bill.

Whilst welcoming the commitment to modernised mental health services, Conference reiterates its view that equality and diversity must be at the heart of provision, at all levels.

This must include:

real progress on race equality in mental health services, noting the Stephen Lawrence and David Bennett reports;

recognition of the legacies of histories of discrimination and neglect towards women, disabled people and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and the need for positive action to address this;

training of mental health workers on these issues.