"Advocacy Support Cymru - self referral issues"
About: Advocacy Support Cymru Advocacy Support Cymru St Mellons CF3 0LT
Posted by What Would Aneurin Bevan Think?) (as ),
I self-referred to ASC to request support with an NHS Concerns meeting, relating to secondary mental health service provision. Unfortunately, due to waiting lists, ASC is unable to offer the support I need within the required timescale. The Team Leader rang within three working days to let me know the decision, and kindly offered to keep my file open in case of future need.
This is not a complaint, but I am offering feedback on the following two issues here simply because ASC specifically invites comments through this website.
(I) Greater clarity is needed on ASC website about "Who We Support"
My request for Community Advocacy Support was refused because I gave only three weeks notice of the date on which support was needed. The reason for this short notice though, was that I had only just been made aware of the possibility of Community Advocacy through another voluntary sector organisation CAVAMH.
I had actually looked online for support around 4-5 weeks prior to making my application to ASC, but had not been able to find the relevant information about Community Advocacy Support on the ASC website.
Please may I suggest, for the benefit of future clients, that you might consider tightening up the "Who We Support" section, to bring to the top of the page a list of the four main types of advocacy that you provide, with hyperlinks to the relevant sections that follow.
Suggested revised text:
"We support a wide range of people in a variety of settings:
1. Qualifying Patients for Independent Mental Health Advocacy in Wales
2. Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy (IMCA)
3. Relevant Persons Representative
4. Community Advocacy from ASC
If you are unsure which service is the right one for you, you can download our referral pathway flowchart, or ring us on 029 2054 0444 and we will be happy to help. "
(http: //www. ascymru. org. uk/english/who-we-support)
(ii) Request for review of Lone Worker Risk Assessment policy for Community Advocacy clients
The referral form for Community Advocacy asks:
"Are there any issues which may pose a risk to an advocate lone working with this person? Yes / No
If you are referring yourself we will ask you for the name of a Mental Health professional who can answer the above question. "
I understand the need to protect lone workers, but was rather horrified to have to consent to an intrusive background check to be made to the CMHT about which I had raised a concern. In the event, this didn't happen because you are not able to provide a service at all. However, I would like to ask for your consideration to the matter anyway, for the sake of future service users.
For my part, I am a fully competent adult with no history of planning or attempting to cause harm to myself or others. I just happen to need secondary services because of a particular condition which falls within that service. My condition does not pose a threat to others. I do understand concerns about personal safety because, as a woman with a history of mental health problems, I am myself statistically at greater personal risk of being harmed than the general population. But I wonder if there are any alternative means by which you could protect both your workers and clients, in cases where clients find this policy to be problematic?
* By offering meetings to take place at your offices and/or in public spaces?
* By making background checks via GP Surgeries or another more neutral source, rather than mental health teams, where the client feels this to be more appropriate?
* Or maybe someone else might have a better solution?
I don't know what the answer is, but I feel so strongly about this that I thought it might be worth putting it out there as something for future consideration.
Thanks in advance for considering these issues, and best wishes for the future.