Mental Health Services

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2008 Health Care Service Group Conference
14 April 2008

Conference is appalled that mental health services are still so poorly funded in comparison with other parts of the NHS and that some staff in mental health teams are increasingly taking on more responsible roles, without the appropriate acknowledgement or reward for doing so.

Government promises to prioritise mental health services have not been carried out, and in fact these services have often been seen as an easy option for cuts.

While Conference supports the upskilling of staff where they are properly trained and rewarded and there is proper accountability in place, we express concern that the use of more generic roles can be to the detriment of professional skills.

Conference expresses its concern that this could lead to the loss of access to specialist help and create a consumer culture among patients where, for example, they are required to go directly to providers of equipment without adequate support in the form of occupational therapy.

Conference calls on the Health Service Group Executive to:

1.campaign for better mental health services; networks and forums of mental health workers at regional and national level to enable them to share experiences of organising and to play a leading role in such a campaign;

3.encourage branches and mental health workers to build alliances with users and carers as this makes the fight for better services easier;

4.provide advice and guidance to members who feel that they are being required to extend their role without proper training or reward; to ensure that occupational therapy remains a valued part of mental health services.