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NSUN promoting service user involvement
August 22nd 2012
Recession, benefit cuts and service reductions are badly affecting people with mental health conditions. But amongst the gloom there is also growing recognition that when we have control over our own lives, services and budgets and are given the chance to help each other better outcomes often result with improved recoveries and saved money.
Independent, service-user-led charity NSUN network for mental health promotes this kind of involvement to support better mental health. Nationally NSUN has done this by gaining positions on influential bodies including the DH (Department of Health) ministerial advisory group, the joint commissioning panel and the DH voluntary sector strategic partnership. We use this access to sign up agencies to meaningful service user involvement standards with a specific charter for involving black and minority ethnic people and another for those in forensic services. In June NSUN started DH funded work to establish national involvement standards, evaluation and monitoring and develop regional pilots.
With the new NHS and social care bodies created by the Health and Social Care Act being launched in April we are busy seeking to ensure that mental service users are listened to properly. So far this year we have sent evidence of the benefit of involving service users in commissioning to hundreds of local government councillors who will be involved in the new strategy setting Health and Wellbeing Boards. We have also sent that evidence to senior GPs who will be responsible for commissioning local health services and to scores of MPs. In support of this effort we have published articles on the Guardian website and in the specialist councillor and GP press.
Our members have a wealth of knowledge and experience to share with commissioners and NSUN has a great story to tell those commissioners based on real experience. In Hackney the lead commissioner calls us ‘the go to organisation’ for co-production after we worked in partnership with local groups to build a mental health ‘people’s network’ to influence and eventually lead commissioning of services. The GP mental health lead for the area’s clinical commissioning group has endorsed this approach for the future as she has seen the potential impact on the quality of future services.
Another important new set of bodies created by the reforms will be the HealthWatch groups that will take over from LINks (Local Involvement Networks) in providing a voice and scrutiny for patients and service users. This October NSUN will launch Mental HealthWatch which aims to recruit service users in every part of England to share intelligence and information and ensure that mental health is well represented across the country.
NSUN is about peer support, self-management and making a positive difference. We hope Solution readers will join us for free at http://www.nsun.org.uk and together mental health can be better even in tough times.
This first appeared in The Solution Magazine.
Involvement for Influence – Influence for Improvement
We are currently recruiting for NIP Advisory Group members who will help develop national involvement standards and an infrastructure for involvement.
The project will develop the evaluated NIP work, share good practice, centralise resources, strengthen existing networks and build an infrastructure that connects and coordinates. Its goal is to benefit mental health service users, carers and professionals.
The NIP Advisory Group will be a key way to secure the involvement and advice of all relevant stake-holders in this work.
We are recruiting people who have current or recent experience of involvement, influencing, innovation and improvement, to advise, steer, support and contribute to the NIP project, on its development, quality and impact. Advisors will help facilitate collaboration between the NIP project, mental-health user and carer networks, community and professional groups, the third sector, NHS and social care organisations, and any others who are committed to involvement, recovery, personalisation and social inclusion within mental health.
The Advisory Group will have quarterly meetings around a half day long and meetings will usually be held in London.
Appointed advisors will be able to claim a fee of up to £150 (+ travel & reasonable expenses) for each half day spent at the NIP Advisory Group.
Please see the Terms of Reference, Role Description and Application Form below for further details.
Closing date for applications: 12 noon Tuesday 28th August
Return application forms by email or by post to:
NSUN, 27-29 Vauxhall Grove, London SW8 1SY
Interviews: mid – September
Contact and enquiries: email@example.com
Website: www.nsun.org.uk Office: 0207 820 8982
NSUN is looking for service users to champion mental health on the new HealthWatch bodies being set up across England. Under the government’s controversial NHS reforms from next April there will be a HealthWatch in your area replacing the patient Local Involvement Network (LINk) in scrutinising health and social care. HealthWatch bodies which will be independent organisations, able to employ their own staff and involve volunteers, in order ‘to become the influential and effective voice of the public.’ The aim of local Healthwatch, the Department of Health says, will be to ‘give citizens and communities a stronger voice to influence and challenge how health and social care services are provided within their locality.’ These bodies are open to anyone to join and NSUN wants mental health service users to get involved and ensure that we are not second class citizens. HealthWatch will be important as they will have places on the new Clinical Commissioning Groups and Health and Wellbeing Boards which will be responsible for setting local health strategy and taking commissioning decisions. NSUN is preparing advice for people who want to get involved and aims to link mental health service user HealthWatch members together to share experiences and information.