The social housing sector breathed a sigh of relief last week when
the government announced £81m for schemes to help vulnerable
people over the next two years.
Providers of schemes set up between April 2003 and March 2004 under
Supporting People became concerned that they would be unable to run
after insufficient assurances from the government in February about
The money is for projects that have already received funding to
build their premises but were waiting to hear how much government
money they would receive to provide and run the services.
The money is to be split into £29m in 2003-4 and £52m in
Diane Henderson, head of care, support and diversity at the
National Housing Federation said that, although the total was
higher than expected, there would still be some casualties.
She was also disappointed that resource rationing had been imposed,
with costs of services being capped at £380 per person per
week in London, £354 in the south east, and £330
elsewhere. However, it affected fewer providers than
Henderson added that there was now an urgent need for the
government to announce the funding for services for schemes
beginning between April 2004 and March 2005. Almost half of people
with a severe mental illness who use services do not know whether
they have a care plan, according to research from charity
Just One Per Cent, a survey of more than 3,000 service users, found
that more than one in four people with mental health problems were
shunned when they sought help while more than a third did not have
any written information about their mental health problem, local
services or treatment options.
A fifth did not know how to access out-of-hours help and more than
one in three said that their main priority would be medicines with
fewer side-effects. Overall just one in a 100 were happy with their
current quality of life.
“We urge the government to ensure every service user has a legal
right to care and treatment and is listened to and involved in
decision-making,” said Cliff Prior, the charity’s chief
Rethink believes that service users should be able to speak to a
mental health or social care professional on request, and get
immediate help in a crisis. In addition they should be involved in
the drawing up of a care plan and receive a written copy.
l See Just One Per Cent from www.rethink.org/research/index.html