The temptation to walk away from a mess that you didn’t create, and let the usual political and corporate suspects slug it out is enormous right now as we wade in slow motion between exhaustion and public policy deja vu.
But then I’m paranoid so I’m of the view that’s exactly what they want.
It’s hard sometimes to recognise the threat of yet another NHS/mental health policy for England document in amongst the repeat-repeat-repeat language of patient choice, thriving and fake co-production but these two white papers that are under review matter.
The Mental Health White Paper
On the face of it strengthening people’s rights to oppose enforced treatment is a good thing, particularly now that we have been forced to recognise that a disproportionate number of people of colour are detained under the existing Mental Health Act.
The problem is that this white paper falls far short of full human rights, and reinforces a medical model of mental health that underpins the current mental health system. It is a framework which denies the political and social context within which mental health services work claiming choice to patients but without addressing the impoverished and increasingly privatised system that exists in the public sector. It’s the very opposite of empowering for service users.
The NHS White Paper
Using the policy sleight of hand of ‘integration’ this White Paper is just another stage in the well planned policy to privatise and downgrade the NHS in England. The language of joining-the-decision-making-dots but actually reducing control of local communities and increasing the influence of the private sector.
Nothing here about monitoring private contractors, who they are and how they deliver services. If you have a pulse you know why increasing the power of central government to agree private sector contracts in public health is a really bad idea.
And if you read this blog you know that mental health services have been intentionally downgraded and mechanised to lay open the contracting landscape to digital providers.
Repeat repeat repeat.
Some progressive organisations have done the dog work of analysing what the proposals mean.
Psychologists For Social Change and The Black Mind Initiative (@tbmiuk) have prepared an overview of the MHA White Paper here.
Keep our NHS public has a detailed overview on ISCs and the White Paper legislative proposals
Deadline 11.59pm on 21 April 2021.
Keep Our NHS Public Sign the petition to Stop Roll Out of Integrated Care Systems in England here
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