Cuts to mental health leave
staff facing violence and aggression in the North West
REDUCED funding to mental health
services across the UK and in the North West is leaving staff vulnerable to
violence and aggression from patients, and means they cannot provide the level
of care needed, according to UNISON.
The report, Struggling to Cope, paints a bleak picture of the country's mental
health services; for both staff and users. It is based on a survey of over
1,000 mental health employees across the UK, and 141 who answered worked in the
North West. They work in a range of roles; with children and adults in
Hospitals, in secure units and out in the community.
UNISON told the media this week that they found out the:- "52% said they had been on the receiving end of violent attacks in the last year.
45% said they had witnessed violent incidents involving patients attacking their
colleagues." Comments from some staff given to the Trade Union suggest that:-
"violent or aggressive incidents happen on a daily basis", and that they
"go with the job."
1 worker described to UNISON they the worker had been:- "repeatedly
punched to the floor", while
others spoke of "attempted strangulation," or being head butted, spat on,
kicked and bitten.
"While the majority (89%) felt they had the knowledge and training to carry out
their work safely, 38% said they had seen an increase in violent incidents in
Mental health workers blamed staff shortages (85%) and the overuse of agency
staff (46%) as the main reasons behind the rise in violent attacks. 62% felt
that service users were increasingly reaching crisis point before accessing
services because of a lack of staff, funding and beds. Worryingly, cuts also
mean that 39% of staff are now having to work alone (when they did not
previously), making them more at risk of being abused..." a
representative from UNISON commented.
the report went on to say that:- "60% of staff responding felt they were unable to support the people that they
care for properly, and almost all (93%) reported feeling stressed because of
UNISON also added that the survey also reveals that 22% of the mental health staff questioned did not
report violent incidents when they happened. Of those that did, 49% did not feel
supported by their managers afterwards.
UNISON says:- "It's hardly surprising that 30% are thinking about leaving their
jobs in mental health, and 17% are actively planning on doing so."
Adding that:- "The main reasons cited by staff were the impact of their work on their own
mental health and well being (33%), the fact that they'd not had a decent pay
rise for 7 years (22%), and the poor state of the mental health sector (17%)."
UNISON North West lead for health Amy Barringer said:- "These findings
highlight a range of deep rooted issues in mental health services that need to
be addressed urgently. The lack of prevention and absence of early
intervention services mean that by the time many people access help, they are
already very ill and at crisis point. Severe staff shortages mean there
are fewer mental health employees to deal with a rising number of users with
complex needs. As a result, many staff are having to work alone, making violent
attacks more likely. It's no wonder so many are planning on leaving for less
stressful, safer work elsewhere."
Last year, NHS England's 5 Year Forward View, on mental health said there was
a need for a:- "strengthened approach to prevention and early
and "good practice in the management of mental health in the workplace"
to support staff. UNISON's survey suggests this is still not happening.
UNISON is calling on the Government to ensure staff and patients are kept safe
by properly funding mental health services, and that staffing levels are
properly reviewed with the introduction of safe minimum patient to staff ratios. Do you work
within this field or have any of these
issues affected you or anyone you know. We would like to hear from you and
also if you would like us to forward any information on to UNISON in relation to
this issue, please send us an email:-
News24@SouthportReporter.com and let
Institute calls for better
evaluation of Tax Reliefs to help businesses grow
GOVERNMENT strategies to use Tax Reliefs to help small businesses grow must be validated by regular reviews of
them, says the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT). The Institute makes the call in response to a Treasury consultation on how to
increase the supply of capital to growing, innovative firms. The CIOT's response
focuses on steps the Government could take to make current Tax Reliefs more
efficient and effective, to provide the best support in line with their policy
The CIOT advocates greater post legislative review and evaluation of Tax
measures, including Tax Reliefs. This reflects recommendations in the Better
Budgets report published earlier this year by CIOT, the Institute for Government
and the Institute for Fiscal Studies.3 Evidence based evaluation would also
allow concerns, justified or not, that these reliefs are used as vehicles for
Tax abuse, to be properly addressed.
John Cullinane, CIOT Tax Policy Director, said:- "There is a need to
separate fact from fiction on Tax Reliefs. Most Tax measures are enacted on the
basis of a hypothesis about how much they will cost and what they will achieve.
Yet little work is carried out to understand whether the basis on which
Parliament was asked to enact them has actually been borne out. Effective data
led evaluation will make it easier to identify unsuccessful or poorly designed
Tax Relief regimes which need to be revised or wound up, and to monitor
unexpectedly high take up. This might of course point to otherwise undetected
Tax abuse, but in any event suggests that the cost effectiveness of the relief
might need to be reviewed. Appropriate Tax Reliefs can help small businesses
grow and achieve their full potential. Taxpayers arranging their investments in
order to access reliefs, provided that this is within the relevant conditions
and reflects genuine activity, should be seen as a positive step, achieving the
policy objective of investment, rather than assumed to be misuse of the relief." The Better Budgets report suggests one trigger for post legislative review could
be 'sunset' clauses or mandatory re-authorisation. That would require
Parliament to make a positive decision to continue with the reliefs, providing
the basis for Parliament to return to the issue of whether the incentives are
meeting their objectives, and whether there was sufficient evidence to make that
Wirral NHS team launches
online toolkit to transform mental health education
AN innovative online toolkit to
transform the way Schools deliver mental health education is being launched
during a special event at Wallasey Town Hall. Cheshire and Wirral Partnership
NHS Foundation Trust's (CWP) Wirral Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS)
is collaborating with Schools from across the region to deliver the Peer
Educator project, which trains young people to deliver mental health education
to fellow students.
The Health Foundation has now commissioned Wirral CAMHS to co-design an online
toolkit, which will be used as a national blueprint to enable Schools in other
areas to set up their own Peer Educator projects. The toolkit was launched at
Wallasey Town Hall, on World Mental Health Day,10 October 2017, with professionals
from CWP demonstrating the success of a 3 year pilot project.
Peer led psychological education is education delivered by people of a similar
age or background and has been found to improve mental health, resilience and
social relationships whilst also decreasing Hospital admissions.
The Peer Educator project involves the recruitment of 2 students from each
School who are trained to deliver a lesson on mental health and provide Mental
Health 1st Aid. A Peer Education Pathway is also developed to ensure students
who are in need of assistance can access appropriate support. 17 Schools have
already participated in the Peer Educator project with an estimated 1,500 young
people receiving a lesson on mental health from a fellow student.
The Wirral CAMHS team will be sharing their insights with educators and mental
health professionals through the online toolkit, which can be accessed at CWP's
award winning CAMHS
website from around the country and are
hopeful that the project will alter the way mental health education is
Dr Fiona Pender, CWP Consultant Clinical Psychologist, and Clinical Director,
said:- "We know that peer led education in Schools is an effective way to
tackle the stigma associated with mental health, yet our project remains the
only one of its kind in the country. Our aim is to share the blueprint of our
successful pilot project on a national scale so that peer education can spread
to other Schools across the country.
I'd like to thank all of the Schools who have participated in this project
already and encourage any other Wirral based educators who are interested in
getting involved in future to contact our team at Wirral CAMHS."
Any Wirral Based mental health professionals or educators who are interested in
the Peer Educator project can contact the Wirral CAMHS team on:- 0151 488 7474
or send then an
Councils seeks new relationship with
residents to improve household waste collections
WIRRAL Council is updating its approach
to how residents' household waste is collected in an effort to ensure more
people receive the best possible service.
The Domestic Refuse Collection policy was due a revamp as it had been in place
for a number of years and not been adapted to reflect changes, both in people's
individual circumstances and the Council's own priorities.
So while the fundamental principles and practices remain, the updated policy
seeks to address some of the underlying issues that have been preventing some
residents from getting the most out of the domestic waste collection service.
Cllr Phillip Brightmore, Cabinet member for Environment, says:- "The
updated policy will reflect our new relationship with residents, with the
emphasis on providing people with clearer information to help them make an
informed personal choice about what to do with their waste in order to best
protect and maintain the local environment. This is about helping residents get
the best out of the provision we all pay for. It's time we made our refuse
collection service smarter, more efficient and easier to use. People tell me
they want to recycle, but do not feel empowered to do, with confusion over what
can and cannot go in their grey bin. I want to address that."
Changing the plan is principally about supporting residents to improve their
access to the domestic refuse collection service and ensure that their waste is
currently being managed and collected in the most effective way for them.
More use will be made of 'waste audits' (face to face discussions with
residents in their homes) to assess whether their requirements are being met.
It might be they need additional bins, or that additional bins they already have
are no longer required.
Or they may just need advice on which bin is appropriate for the kind of waste
they have so they can achieve a better balance between what goes in the grey
recycling bin and what goes in the green, non recyclable waste bin.
In addition to more waste audits, from early next year the Council will be also
be trialling a number of other ways to communicate directly with residents,
including text prompts reminding residents to put their bins out the evening
before regular, fortnightly collections.
Cllr Brightmore added:- ''We are determined to make getting hold of
information about refuse collection service as easy as possible and we are happy
to provide the support residents require to make the service accessible. Our
amended plan covers every aspect of the domestic waste collection service, it is
not just about what goes in what bin and what day they will be collected. By
improving the way we interact with residents, we might identify ways in which
the Council can help people in other ways that they may not be aware of, such as
with assisted collections, the ERIC bulk waste collection service or repairing a
damaged bin. As part of pulling this together, we have researched the approaches
and policies adopted by other local authorities to identify where we can follow
best practice and improve the service for our residents. The updated document
fits well with the conclusions of the recently completed strategic review of the
City Region's waste management arrangements and in particular the recommendation
to standardise service provision policies across the region."