Adass bids to revive social care’s role in mental health

The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services today called for local government and social care to reassert their role in mental health care following a decade-long “retreat”.

In a report laying out proposals on how the government should replace the national service framework for mental health, which expires next year, Adass said many councils had devolved significant mental health commissioning and delivery responsibilities to the NHS.

The paper, Mental health into the mainstream, says: “Increasingly mental health has been seen as a “health” issue, sometimes in exchange for services for people with a learning disability being seen as a social care preserve. We believe that social care’s retreat from mental health has gone too far.”

No structural change

However, it does not call for structural changes but emphasises local government’s community leadership function and role in providing or commissioning services such as housing, education and leisure.

Richard Webb, co-chair of the Adass mental health network, said: “We are calling for the government to replace then NSF with a cross-government strategy that looks at mental well-being in its entirety.”

Specific proposals include:-

  • A national development plan to promote the use of personal budgets and direct payments for people with mental health problems, and extending personal budgets to some NHS services, and possibly to benefits, training and housing.
  • Piloting person-centred planning for people with long-term mental health needs.
  • Everyone who uses mental health services to have an annual review of support they need to get or retain a job or access education and training.
  • A national review of the validity of retaining age-specific services for adults with mental health needs.
  • Ensuring a single set of standards and performance indicators across local government and NHS mental health services.
  • Reviewing the current model of specialist and secondary mental health services and streamlining range of teams to develop an accessible and easy to understand model of care.

Webb said the vision had the backing of the NHS Confederation.

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