117 Aftercare for the elderly and retired members

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2015 National Retired Members Conference
10 June 2015
Carried as Amended

Conference is concerned at the effects of Section 117 of the Mental Health Act especially as far as it affects elderly and retired people.

Section 117 of the Mental Health Act places a statutory duty of aftercare on Health (Health Authority delegated to Primary Care Trusts) and Local Social Services Authorities (LSSA) to provide aftercare services free of charge for all clients who have been detained in hospital under a qualifying Section of the Mental Health Act, 1983 (as amended by Mental Health Act 2007).

Currently Section 117 gives considerable discretion to Health and Local Authorities as to what they provide and therefore it is similar to a postcode lottery, where you live may determine what you pay for. With many cash strapped authorities looking at how to cut budgets on a regular basis, clients are being forced to pay for residential care. This results in them having to sell homes/property to fund this, when in fact it is the joint responsibility of Health and Social Services to provide for them under the 117 Aftercare.

117 Aftercare is aimed at reducing their chance of being readmitted to hospital for treatment for that mental disorder. It was stated by the Court of Appeal in Clunis v Camden and Islington Health Authority (1998) that they will normally include:-

1. Caring Residential Accommodation (e.g. residential, nursing,)

2. Domiciliary Services

3. Family Relationships

4. Social Work

5. Health Interventions

6. Employment and benefits advice

7. Psychological therapies

Conference believe Authorities are failing to fully inform elderly and retired people of their rights and with the ever increasing number of people suffering from Dementia related illnesses, perhaps entering hospital following an accident and then having to become Sectioned under the Mental Health Act. You are entitled to Section 117 Aftercare if you have been in hospital under Section 3, 37, 45A, 47 or 48 of the Mental Health Act 1983.

117 Continuing Care does not stop when a patient leaves hospital and has to enter Care and in cases of dementia continue for the duration of their lives, as the illness only progresses.

Conference we believe that there may be many elderly and retired people entitled to this service who are currently not receiving it and we call on the National Retired Members Committee to:

a. Highlight to all branches the need for all Health and Local Authorities throughout the Country to operate and provide relatives with clear information.

b. Raise the profile of 117 Aftercare with Branches to ensure that retired members in their Branch who are entitled to Aftercare under Section 117 of the Mental Health Act are aware of that entitlement.