A think-tank has called for the government to end the exclusion
of mental health services from policies to boost choice through
personal budgets for users.
The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) says increased
choice could make services more responsive and empower users.
It calls for people with mental health problems to be given
“personal recovery budgets” covering social care, psychological
therapies and other services, as well as choice over providers.
It also says GPs should no longer be the only gatekeepers to
mental health services, with nurses, counsellors and community
workers also given this power.
The report says the government’s focus on choice in health and
social care has ignored mental health, with just 207 of 17,300
direct payment recipients in 2003-4 having a mental health
But personal recovery budgets would be accessible to more users
by going beyond direct payments to cover services traditionally
accessed through the NHS.
The report is the third in a series of papers to come out of a
project involving mental health charity Rethink.
The charity’s chief executive, Cliff Prior, said: “Personal
recovery budgets will need to be delivered as part of a choice
revolution in mental health which sees it fully integrated into the
health reform agenda, so people can access services that best suit
them at a time and place of their choosing.”
Later this year the IPPR and Rethink will publish a paper
summarising their plans for mental health services.
- A Good Choice for Mental Health from www.ippr.org