"Mental health day centres in Manchester - we don't understand the changes"
Posted by MCC44 (as ),
I attended the Collective Voice event in Manchester last month. It was at Kings Church near Oxford Rd train station and there were lots of people there. I saw a presentation by Patient Opinion in the afternoon and thought I could share my opinion on day centres in Manchester.
I went to the adult social care fairer charging review on 25th August. It was to discuss the changes to the way we are being charged. The following questions were asked:
Question one: Do people understand the changes to the way they are charged?
Most people don't understand why it costs so much and don't understand why were are charged as these services are for our health and healthcare is free. Most people don't think it is right that some pay more than others. We also thought that many of the people who go to the day centres wouldn't understand the changes - was this capacity taken into account when implementing the new policy?
Question two: Do people understand why we changed the way they are charged?
No! A few people felt it was a way of taking their DLA away from them, which people use to keep them out of hospital. Apparently, there is £1.6billion extra money available - why do we need to pay?! We just havn't had enough information.
Question three: Do people think the way we charge them now is fairer?
No! Paying more for exactly the same service isn't fair. It's wrong to make people use benefits to pay for social care services. "We didn't choose to be ill". We should only pay for services in retrospect, not in advance and then wait for a rebate with no interest. Also, people who don't 'behave themselves' (e.g. by refusing medication) won't end up paying. Lots of other local authorities don't charge MH customers.
Other impacts of the Fairer Charging Policy:
Has a knock on effect to other parts of the trust. It is making people ill. No one had an impact assessment before the changes were made. It might encourage people to get more ill so that they can get the services for free (under section 117). The people who made this decision don't understand what it's like to survive on very little money every day. Mental health needs fluctuate, it's got to be more flexible.
We think that the NHS will end up paying for the 'damage done' by this decision because people won't be able to access the council services and will end up more unwell and potentially sectioned. Mental health care and physical health care should not be treated as seperately as they are. We want to know what would happen if we didn't pay, would the service be withdrawn?
We just all want good quality mental health care that is free, in the same way that if we had healthcare needs in general they would be met with no cost. It seems like mental health care is only free when you are really very ill and sectioned, until then it is difficult to support yourself and prevent hospital admission. The group are 100% against the decisions made in this charging reveiw and would like to see something done about it. No one understands why they have to pay to access help from mental health day centres. It feels like 'the system' wants us to end up in hospital instead of at home, supporting ourselves to live independently.