Today the New NHS Alliance calls on NHS England to reconsider their latest decision to give ‘provider collaboratives’, including private companies, responsibilities for decision-marking in mental health. Instead, the Alliance wants to see local people with lived experience of mental health problems to be given a formal role in financial decision-making.
Commenting on the NHS England announcement, Merron Simpson, CEO, said, “While it’s great to see that stigma relating to mental health problems appears to be decreasing, we’re unfortunately seeing little progress on changing the way that spending decisions are made. Many people with mental health problems know what will make them well – but they continue to be outside the ring when it comes to decisions about what is available in their local areas to help them.”
Brian Fisher, GP and Chair, adds, “In the new arrangements, organisations whose income depends on treating NHS patients will have a role in planning those services from which they profit. The ramifications are deeply concerning. A CQC report on mental health in March 2018 found that placements in the private sector were almost twice as long as similar placements in the NHS, more than three times as far away and twice as expensive. Instead of switching decision-making to providers, people who use the services should be given a much bigger say in what is commissioned”.
Alex McCraw, a Community Director of New NHS Alliance with lived experience of mental health problems, said: “The best help comes directly from other people who have themselves experienced mental turmoil. The NHS needs to take this resource seriously and seek advice from people with valuable lived experience of recovery from mental health problems. Making local commissioning accountable to them should be the government’s first priority”.
New NHS Alliance is a movement of professionals and local people working as equal partners to address and reduce health inequalities. Health Creation including asset-based approaches promoted by New NHS Alliance and others, is a route to wellness. It comes about when local people and professionals work together as equal partners and focus on what matters to people and their communities.