Month: January 2011

Postcode lottery in NHS has failed my son

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A DAD says his young son is being prevented from getting the specialist help he needs because of a “postcode lottery” in Healthfunding.

Greater London Minority Ethnic Achievement Awards

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Join the Network for Black Professionals and Team 11 at the forthcoming Greater London Minority Ethnic Achievement Awards celebrating the best in business, innovation and education.

Exeter College in Cyber Bullying Controvesy

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A CONTROVERSIAL website contains dozens of deeply offensive and personal comments about Exeter students.

The site – which is not being named by the Echo – was brought to the attention of senior college staff by a parent who said her daughter’s life was being made a misery by remarks on it. Exeter College heads have now stepped in to ban students using the site.

Comments are attached to educational institutions and users are then asked to rate whether each is true or not.

The comments about named students included intimate references to sex lives, personal hygiene and appearance. Headteachers reacted with outrage when it was brought to their attention, and many schools have been removed from the site’s listings.

Full article:..

RETHINK’s Coalition Of 10.

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A voluntary sector consensus is emerging on key aspects of the NHS Health and Social Care Bill. The issues outlined below been developed by Rethink, Alzheimer’s Society, Asthma UK, Breakthrough Breast Cancer, the British Lung Foundation, British Heart Foundation, Diabetes UK, Macmillan Cancer Support, the Stroke Association and National Voices, drawing on the wider National Voices membership of more than 100 charities.

We welcome the Government’s aim for a health service that puts patients at its heart. However, we have noted several cross-cutting concerns that we would like Parliamentarians to raise in Monday’s debate, to ensure that ‘no decision about me without me’ becomes a reality in the new NHS:

More here:

Welfare to work? Only the wealthy collect the benefits!

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The minimal help given to jobseekers by measures such as the Flexible New Deal benefits the providers, not the unemployed…

story continues….

The battle to save Leeds crisis centre.

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About saveleedscrisiscentre

Save Leeds’ only instant access crisis counselling service from closure. Other services have long waiting lists and will soon be cut too. We are people who have used or valued Leeds Crisis Centre and don’t believe it should close. If you have used or valued the Crisis Centre, please email us your story.

More information here:-

‘Understatement Of The Day’ award goes to the headline….

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“Patient care at risk under NHS reforms, experts warn”



Paul Jenkins, of the mental health charity Rethink, said: “We want to see better training and support for GPs, who will soon become responsible for commissioning complex mental health services, despite many admitting that they have little understanding of what’s available.”

Full article:

Patrick Cockburn on son Henry’s mental health recovery.

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Last week the award-winning journalist told how his son Henry succumbed to mental illness after smoking cannabis for years. Now Patrick and Henry reveal the triumphs  –  and heartbreak  –  on the road to recovery .

Read more:-

Robert Johnson warns commissioning changes will create “dog eat dog” system

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PLANS to change the way public services are commissioned in Barnet will make it a “dog eat dog” system, according to one service provider

More here….

Mr Askew’s Open Letter to Dawn. “Did you get any get well cards?”

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A email from a Blog reader, which he asked to me to respond to as an Open Letter.


“Dear Dawn

I hope you don’t mind me contacting you and I hope you are feeling much better now.

I am a reader of your weblog and have been reading your recent posts about how you have tried to overcome depression. I found them inspiring.

I began reading your weblog when you posted a topic about Time To Change which cause a lot of comment. It was the one where you talked to some service users and wrote about what they said to you. (link

I did not comment at the time because it got very heated but I am now curious about what you think about the thing one person said to you back then which was:  “It seems to me that when the likes of you from Rethink start your campaigns against cuts the gutter press readers are going to be saying ‘hang on, weren’t these people trying to convince us they were all normal but now they want their handouts.’ They will say we want it all ways.”

I also see you have posted something today from someone about top heavy charities.

I wonder if I can ask you a few questions and if you want to answer could you post it as an ‘open letter’ and your reply on your blog?

Q1.  Do you think the person who asked you that question above was right now that we are seeing all these cuts, and the government and press seem to be out to get disabled mentally ill claimants?

Q2.  Did you get any ‘get well cards’ from Time To Change etc when you weren’t well? Trisha Goddard was a poster girl for them on that issue

Q3.  What exactly is your illness?

Q4.  Do you agree with the things in the post you listed by Zen Asylum?

I hope you can answer these questions for me, I am very interested in you and your views on things. Don’t worry about it if you want to reply privately though.

Yours truly

Mr J Askew”


In response:

Dear Mr Askew,

Thank you for contacting me and for your kind comments about my ‘blog’ and you wishes around my health.

Getting straight onto your questions which I am more than happy to publish as an ‘open letter’ as you request.  I may not answer them in order.

My diagnosis is that of Bipolar II disorder, which I won’t go on to explain, there’s plenty info on Google.  It’s something I have encountered since puberty, but as is the nature of this type of the ‘illness’ I was not diagnosed correctly for many years.  My living ‘la vida bi-polar’, and it’s ups and downs are well documented either on here or in various articles.

Your question about ‘Get Well Cards’ did make me smile, since it’s a subject I have recently discussed with a friend.  In response to you ‘No’ I did not receive any get well cards, however I did receive many wishes and messages of support via email, facebook, twitter, text and phone – a sign of the times maybe?

Your Q1 – Hmmm, possibly, he was possibly quite right on some level. The campaign as you will probably know was set up purely to challenge the stigma faced by people with a mental health diagnosis, and to measure whether people had reconsidered their opinions at the end of the project.  Therefor it tried to educate people on how stigma affects us and where we encounter it (that’s a very brief description of  TTC ). I wonder whether in retrospect planners didn’t consider the implications of a new government (remember the project began long before the elections), and didn’t research enough the impact a change of government would have? Then again, I wonder if anyone could have anticipated the alarming speed at which this Goverment, hand in hand with the popular press have demonised the disabled and those claiming sickness benefits?  Thus no clear answer to this question…..

Regarding the post today from Zen Asylum – Firstly I post articles which challenge and cause debate, and this one surely fits that criteria. Do I, however, agree with the content? I am concerned when any charity may be seen as not being representative of the people who rely upon it.   I am quite involved with RETHINK, and for me their valuable Service Provision must remain a priority in these time of austerity, however funding is becoming more difficult to acquire, and will often have a lot of heavy restrictions and rules around what is expected from any organisation tendering.  I think transparency around some of these matters  from the Charities would help to clear up, (or perhaps in some cases), confirm the reasons for the concerns of users and carers alike.

I hope my answers are helpful to you.

Best wishes,



And so it begins as York’s MH Services are to be operated from Leeds!

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MENTAL health services in York and Selby are to be run from Leeds after the service was put out to tender by the region’s NHS trust.

The Lancet on The NHS Crisis.

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There is a crisis in the National Health Service (NHS). The publication of the Health and Social Care Bill last week heralds dramatic changes for the NHS, which will affect the way public health and social care are provided in the UK. Those changes alone will have huge impact, but it is the formation of an NHS Commissioning Board, and commissioning consortia, that will once and for all remove the word “national” from the health service in England. The result, due to come into force in 2013, will be the catastrophic break up of the NHS.

article continues:

Zen Asylum: Top Heavy UK Mental Health Services & Charities Facing Service User & Carer Revolt.

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“The larger corporate mental health charity providers like MIND and Rethink who jointly run the £21 million system uncritical Time to Change anti-stigma project conducted themselves little better  and continue to sniff airily at  the massive disconnect with their stated beneficiaries ,  refusing to openly acknowledge their conflicting ‘provider’ and ‘rights representation’  roles as Chief Executives like Mind’s Paul Farmer and the Mental Health Foundation’s Dr Andrew McCulloch pay themselves £100,000 salaries as their organisations operate as ruthlessly competitive  funded businesses  and bid for more and more dubious Government contracts and NHS jobs behind their service users backs.”


Interesting article in depth….

CQC finds Southend Hospital can’t cope with Mental Health in A&E

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SOUTHEND Hospital is failing to meet ‘essential standards’ for patients with mental illness – a health watchdog has revealed.

Adam Rickwood’s Mum, ‘Waiting for someone to say: Sorry, we got it wrong’

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THE mother of a teenager found hanged in his cell only hours after being unlawfully restrained, last night called for the staff responsible to face prosecution.

More here:-

Cardiff health board’s apology after man’s suicide

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A health board has apologised to a family of a former mental health patient who killed himself 10 days after he was refused hospital admission.


Proposal: Strip Searching Mentally Ill Suspects In Police Custody. What next delousing?

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Strip search needed to prevent self-harming, IPCC saysl

Suspects whom the police believe could try to self-harm should be strip searched before being left in a cell, the police watchdog has said.

MPs oppose benefit cuts for unemployed.

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More than 50 MPs have signed a petition calling for the government to drop plans to cut housing benefit for the unemployed.