No service user involvement in recruitment of SLaM CEO

Dear friend,

Today Patient Opinion posted my comment regarding the lack of service user involvement in the recruitment of SLaM’s new CEO.

If you feel the same it would be great if you could also contact PO. All comments are sent to the relevant Trust.

This is a real opportunity for you to influence how the recruitment of the next two senior posts in SLaM are conducted (Director of Nursing and Director of Human Resources).

Please email your thoughts to

Best wishes,


High Court quashes decision by Jeremy Hunt to close Lewisham Hospital

The High Court today (31 July 2013) found that the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt MP, had acted outside his powers and therefore unlawfully, in deciding to substantially cut services and close departments at Lewisham Hospital.

In today’s judgment Mr Justice Silber said that the decision of the Secretary of State must be “quashed” as he had acted outside his powers as Secretary of State, and in breach of the National Health Service Act 2006, when he announced to Parliament that services at Lewisham Hospital would be downgraded and closed.

Law firm Leigh Day, representing the Save Lewisham Campaign Group, successfully argued that the decision of the Secretary of State was unlawful. They also successfully argued that the decision of Trust Special Administrator, the first to be appointed under new health service guidance, was also unlawful.

The Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign made up of and supported by patients, community groups, GPs, hospital doctors, nurses and other health professionals working in Lewisham was formed in 2012, in response to the South London Healthcare Trust Special Administrator (TSA) Mathew Kershaw proposal that, as part of the cost saving measures put forward for the neighbouring trust, South London Healthcare NHS Trust, that services at Lewisham Hospital should be reduced.

Despite being appointed TSA for the South London Healthcare Trust, in his final report to the Secretary of State in January 2013, Mr Kershaw not only proposed changes to South London Healthcare Trust but also to Lewisham Healthcare Trust, in particular to Lewisham Hospital which it runs.

Mr Kershaw proposed that the Hospital should close and downgrade some of its services, including its A&E department, acute admitting wards and adult Intensive Care Unit. He also suggested that the maternity service at the hospital should be downgraded or closed completely.

These recommendations were made despite widespread agreement that Lewisham Hospital was a high achieving and popular hospital not in financial difficulty.

Save Lewisham Hospital campaign argued to the TSA at the time, that the alternative health care options proposed would have been extremely difficult for residents to access.

However, on 31 January 2013 the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, announced to parliament that he accepted the TSA’s recommendations about South London Healthcare Trust including the recommendation to reconfigure NHS services ‘beyond the confines of [SLHT], across all of South East London [including Lewisham].’ (Para 40)

The High Court today found that “The TSA did not have vires [the power] to make his recommendations relating to LH [Lewisham Hospital]; The Secretary of State did not have vires to make his Decision relating to LH.” (Para 208) ‘Therefore the Decision of the Secretary of State insofar as it relates to LH must be quashed as must the recommendations of the TSA also insofar as they relate to LH.’ (Para 210)

In his judgment (Para 38) Mr Justice Silber also referred to a pledge made by the Prime Minister, David Cameron, in January 2013 to Dame Joan Ruddock, MP for Lewisham Deptford that, in relation to Lewisham Hospital in particular:

“What the Government and I specifically promised was that there should be no closures or reorganisations unless they had support from the GP commissioners, unless there was proper public and patient engagement and unless there was an evidence base. Let me be absolutely clear: unlike under the last Government when these closures and changes were imposed in a top-down way, if they do not meet those criteria, they will not happen.”

Rosa Curling from law firm Leigh Day, who represented the Save Lewisham Hospital Group said:

“When the Secretary of State appointed the Trust Special Administrator to investigate and develop recommendations on the future of South London Healthcare NHS Trust, he promised that there would be no “back-door approach to reconfiguration”; there would be no reconfiguration of neighbouring NHS services delivered by other NHS bodies beyond the South London Trust.

“He broke this promise – in fact, his decision regarding South London included a substantial reconfiguration of services delivered by other NHS bodies beyond South London and in particular in relation to Lewisham Hospital. The court has today agreed that the TSA and the Secretary of State has no legal power to do this and has emphatically made clear that this decision should be quashed.”

Dr Louise Irvine, local GP and Chair of the Save Lewisham Hospital campaign, said that she had been overwhelmed by the support from people around the UK:

“This is an incredible day. We are delighted for every single person who has supported the campaign and those who will now continue to benefit from this extraordinary hospital. The support from thousands of people in Lewisham is a very real demonstration of the Big Society.

“David Cameron himself said that there would be no ‘top-down’ approach to closures and we appreciate the Court’s decision which should serve as a reminder to this Government to not forget their promises and not to underestimate those who they seek to represent.”

Press Contact: David Standard, Head of Media Relations
07540 332717,

Join the celebrations

#RT via

Get Into Reading

Looking for something different to do? Try-out a reading group…

Groups are open to all, readers and non-readers alike. Come along and listen to stories and poems read aloud. It’s an opportunity to read and talk together in a friendly and relaxing environment.

Free refreshments provided!

Please get in touch if you want to know more, or to visit a group.

Phone: 07730503144

See the attachment for a list of your local groups in Lambeth and Southwark!

Open Groups in Lbeth Swark May 2013

South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust Council of Governors

Congratulations to our newly elected representatives on the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust Council of Governors.

Chris Anderson, Chris Collins and Nash Momori, who have been elected to represent service users in the Croydon, Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark Boroughs.

Matthew McKenzie, who was elected unopposed to represent Carers.

Iyoni Ranasinghe and Dr Tom Werner, who have been elected to represent staff members.—Results/detail144.aspx

#RT via Bridget

BBC programme on welfare reforms broke impartiality and accuracy rules

The Future of the Welfare State, presented by John Humphrys, failed to back up controversial views with statistics, says trust

The BBC Trust has ruled that a controversial programme about welfarereforms, written and fronted by the Today presenter John Humphrys,breached its rules on impartiality and accuracy.

The programme The Future of the Welfare State was first broadcast in November 2011 and featured Humphrys going back to his “poor, working-class” birthplace of Splott in the centre of Cardiff, where one in four of the working-age people are on some form of benefit.

The trust, which governs the broadcaster and is chaired by Lord Patten, chided the documentary-makers saying that “judgments reached or observations made are still required to be based on the evidence and should not give the appearance of presenting a personal view on a controversial subject”.

The programme, which aired on BBC2 at 9pm, put forward the contentious idea that Britain was going through an “age of entitlement”. In it Humphrys interviewed claimants, including a couple on £1,600 ofbenefits a month who thought “living on benefits an acceptable lifestyle”, and welfare experts, from centre-right thinktanks and from the United States, which runs a much tougher public assistance system.

Following a complaint from the Child Poverty Action Group charity and another unnamed individual, the BBC Trust decided the subject met its criteria for being a “controversial subject” and a “major matter”. The complaint was decided on by the five-strong editorial standards committee, composed of five BBC trustees.

Significantly the committee found that the programme had not backed up its controversial views with statistics and that this, said the trust, had led to the programme being inaccurate.

In a blunt assessment, the trustees found “the absence of sufficient complementary statistical information to underpin contributors’ accounts, viewers were left unable to reach an informed opinion and the accuracy guidelines had been breached”.

Specifically the committee said viewers would have concluded that the government was targeting benefits that were responsible for leaving the “welfare state in crisis” and creating the impression that “despite the anecdotal testimonies of jobseekers heard in the programme that there was [a] healthy supply of jobs overall”.

“Both issues are central to the viewers’ understanding of the key issues discussed in the programme, and because this was a controversial issue… the failure of accuracy had also led to a breach of impartiality.”

In considering the case, the committee rejected the claim that Humphrys had presented a personal view, in contravention of guidelines for senior current affairs presenters on controversial issues.

Before the programme was broadcast, Humphrys wrote a personal opinion piece in the Daily Mail to publicise his views and the programme. In it he wrote of “the predictable effect of a dependency culture that has grown steadily over the past years. A sense of entitlement. A sense that the state owes us a living. A sense that not only is it possible to get something for nothing but that we have a right to do so.”

Leftwing critics claim the BBC has in recent years hardened its stance on benefit claimants and point out that there has been a welter of countervailing information about the true state of Britain’s welfare state.

Laurie Penny writing in the New Statesman complained that the recent BBC1 series Nick and Margaret: We All Pay Your Benefits echoed “the rhetoric of the Department for Work and Pensions, pit[ting] taxpayers against ‘shirkers’ .”

However in recent weeks, the welfare secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, who used to preface his remarks on Today about benefits with a positive reference to Humphrys’ programme, has become exasperated with an apparent leftwing bias of the corporation.

Earlier this month the cabinet minister hit out during a bad-tempered interview with Humphrys on Today over his cap on benefits, accusing Radio 4’s flagship programme of using “politically motivated” people to attack his policies. Duncan Smith had the day before been rapped by the official statistics watchdog for misusing benefits cap numbers.

Alison Garnham, chief executive of Child Poverty Action Group, said: “These are major issues of public interest deserving of robust debate and challenging media coverage but which, crucially, also require journalists to speak truth to power, rather than speak untruths about the powerless. If they don’t, television audiences and the public at large will continue to be denied the debate they deserve.

“This programme, like too many media stories, failed the public by swallowing wholesale the evidence-free myth of a ‘dependency culture’ in which unemployment and rising benefit spending is the fault of the unemployed.

“As well as telling the truth about the lack of evidence for the ‘dependency culture’ narrative, media coverage on social security must give due coverage to important matters like the lack of jobs, poverty pay, zero hour contracts, the high costs of childcare, the high cost of housing and the disappointing performance of the Work Programme.”

#RT via Welfare News Service via

NHS Direct wants to end 111 phone service contracts

A major provider of the NHS non-emergency telephone service in England is seeking to pull out of its contracts due to financial problems.

NHS Direct initially won 11 of the 46 regional contracts for the service, covering 34% of the population.

It has already pulled out of two services, but now says the remaining nine are “financially unsustainable”.

The whole 111 service has been plagued with problems. NHS bosses have said there is no room for complacency.

The service is run by different organisations in each area, including private companies, ambulance trusts and NHS Direct – which ran the old telephone advice line.

Discussions are already taking place with other providers, particularly the ambulance trusts, to see who could take over from NHS Direct.

NHS Direct announced in June that it was pulling out of two areas – Cornwall and North Essex – even before the services were launched.

And earlier this month, it warned that the volume of calls at two of its larger contracts, North West and West Midlands, were 30-40% lower than contracted leading to lower income and leaving its whole 111 service “financially unsustainable”.

NHS Direct used to be paid more than £20 per call when it ran the old 0845 number. The payment is between £7 and £9 per call for the new 111 service.

Projections reported earlier this month showed NHS Direct had lost £2.8m since April and was “heading for a deficit of £26m if we continue to run the same volume of 111 services until the end of this financial year”.

The organisation is now seeking a “managed transfer” of its 111 contracts, which have between two and five years left to run, to another provider.

NHS Direct has already pulled out of contracts for 111 services in Cornwall and North Essex

Nick Chapman, the chief executive of NHS Direct, said: “We will continue to provide a safe and reliable NHS 111 service to our patients until alternative arrangements can be made by commissioners.

“Whatever the outcome of the discussions on the future, patients will remain the central focus of our efforts, together with protecting our staff who work on NHS 111 to ensure that the service will continue to benefit from their skills and experience.”

The whole 111 service was meant to be up and running in April.

However, many areas were not ready and only half of services were operational by May. Some parts of England will not have an operational 111 service until 2014.

There have also been problems with reports of callers not being able to get through and calls being inappropriately referred, leading to an extra strain on ambulances and hospitals.

Dame Barbara Hakin, the deputy chief executive of NHS England, told the BBC: “We’ve been in discussions with other providers, particularly the ambulance trusts who, with their experience, will be able to, in a properly managed fashion, take over this service from NHS Direct.

“I’m not going to pretend for one minute that we haven’t had very significant problems with 111, which we need to deal with, but it’s a really great service with potential.”

Meanwhile, a Channel 4 undercover investigation at another 111 provider, Harmoni, has reported staff shortages, long waits for callers and some cases of ambulances being called out unnecessarily.

The Dispatches programme, which will air on Monday night, reports one call centre manager saying the service was “unsafe” at weekends because there were too few staff to deal with the calls coming in.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister said the government was not shying away from problems with 111 and it was “confident that it will continue to push up standards for patients across the country”.

It has been an embarrassing start for the 111 phone line.

MPs labelled the April launch “premature”, some services will start around a year late and doctors describe 111 as an “abject disaster”.

There have been reports of long waits and question marks around the decisions made by telephone operators.

The Prime Minister and NHS England admit there have been problems introducing the service.

However, NHS 111 is here to stay.

The immediate challenge will be to find someone to take over the nine regional contracts run by NHS Direct.

Ambulance trusts look the most likely to run those services.

NHS bosses say callers should not notice any difference in care while the transition is made.

Shadow health secretary, Andy Burnham, said it was a “mess of the government’s making” which had led to nurses being replaced by computers.

“The government urgently has to step in both in the short term, to ensure the continuity of the service, but secondly, to get more clinicians back in the front line handling calls -because this computer approach just I’m afraid isn’t working, and won’t relieve pressure on ambulance services and A&Es.”

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, from the British Medical Association, said 111 had been an “abject failure”.

“The decision by NHS Direct to seek a withdrawal from its contracts to provide NHS 111 reveals worrying flaws not just with the tendering process for NHS 111 contracts, but for how contracts are awarded and monitored throughout the NHS.”

He said if the service was to recover it needed to be properly funded and closely integrated with local NHS services.

Dr Nagpaul added: “The government must review its competitive tendering approach and instead look towards an integrated model based on cooperation between local services.”

#RT via 38 degrees via

Consultation on the future of Mental Health Day Opportunities in Southwark

Dear colleague,

Experts by Experience have been commissioned by Southwark Council to undertake a consultation on their proposals for the reconfiguration of Mental Health Day Services in Southwark.

I am happy to confirm that the Council’s lead member has approved the consultation approach and timetable. The decision will go to the Scrutiny Committee this Wednesday, 31st July, at which point it may be recalled for review, although this is thought to be unlikely.

I am therefore today attaching a link to the post which is hosting a copy of the user-friendly document and the flyer announcing the 11 focus groups, for your advance notice.

Hard copies of both will be distributed across the Borough, including to all the venues hosting a focus group: they will arrive this Wednesday.

Please note that we do not have resources to reprint the documents, so we’re not able to send out further copies of either.

With best wishes,

Experts by Experience

Lewisham People’s Day: Audio Blog by Matthew

Lewisham People’s Day was held on Saturday 13 July 2013, 12 noon–8pm at Mountsfield Park, Catford SE6

This is Matthew’s great audio blog of his trip there.

Audio Blog of the Impact Art Fair at 336 Brixton Road on 27th July 2013 by Matthew

Lovely audio blog by Matthew of his visit to the Impact Art Fair – well worth a listen!

Evaluation of the feedback on NHS Southwark CCG’s consultation on ‘Improving Services in Dulwich and the Surrounding Areas’

On Thursday 8 August 2013 at 12 midday, NHS Southwark CCG will be hosting a special event to share the evaluation of responses from the recent ‘Improving Services in Dulwich and the Surrounding Areas’ consultation.

At this event Opinion Leader will present the key themes that emerged during the consultation process and offer you the opportunity for questions about what local people and organisations said.

The event will take place at: Cambridge House, 1 Addington Square, Camberwell, London SE5 0HF. 

A light lunch and refreshments will be provided and to ensure we have sufficient space and refreshments anyone interested in attending needs to register before the end of 6 August at:

Further information

The consultation evaluation report and equalities impact assessment will be discussed at the CCG Governing Body meeting on 11 July 2013 and is available on our website here. Following this, NHS Southwark CCG’s Governing Body will meet on 12 September 2013 to agree on a number of recommendations arising from the consultation.

#RT via Matthew via

Mentally ill people ‘hit hard by recession’

The economic recession across Europe has had a profound impact on people with mental health problems, research from King’s College London suggests.

Between 2006 and 2010, the rate of unemployment for those with mental health problems rose twice as much as for other people – from 12.7% to 18.2%.

Men and those with low levels of education were particularly affected, the study said.

The authors warn that social exclusion could increase among the mentally ill.

Scientists collected data from 20,000 people across 27 EU countries using the Eurobarometer survey, which looked at mental health, attitudes to those with mental health problems and current employment rate.

For those without mental health problems, the unemployment rate increased from 7.1% in 2006 to 9.8% in 2010 – half the increase compared with the previous group.

In addition, the study identified that men with mental health problems were particularly vulnerable. The unemployment rate for this group increased from 13.7% in 2006 to 21.7% in 2010.

The researchers, from the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London, found that negative attitudes to people with mental health problems were a factor in the rise in unemployment.

The study said: “Living in a country where a higher proportion of individuals believe that individuals with mental illness are dangerous was associated with a higher likelihood of unemployment for people with mental health problems, but did not influence employment rates for those without mental health problems.”

It is thought that unemployed people with mental health problems may also be less likely to seek help and and may need specific outreach support.

Dr Sara Evans-Lacko, lead study author and lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry, said the study did not have unemployment rates for individual EU countries. She suggested the trend was a general one across Europe which was not specific to any one culture.

“During a recession people who already have mental health problems find their economic and social position gets worse.

“We don’t exactly know why, but it’s harder for people to get a job if there’s already a gap on their CV and if employers need to cut staff then these people might be more vulnerable.”

The danger is that economic hardship can intensify the social exclusion of vulnerable people, such as those with mental health problems, the study said.

Prof Graham Thornicroft, also from the research team at the Institute of Psychiatry, said there were steps which could be taken to prevent this happening.

“Governments need to be aware of these risks, and employers need to be aware of their legal duty to comply with the Equality Act to support people with mental health problems coming into, and staying in, employment,” he said.

Beth Murphy, head of information at mental health charity Mind, said the findings were worrying.

“Mental well-being depends on many factors, including employment status, working conditions and financial security, all of which can be affected during a recession.

“Since 2008, the Mind Infoline has received an increasing number of enquiries from people concerned about the impact of money and unemployment on their mental health, which could well be attributed to the economic downturn.

“Specifically, redundancy is known to trigger depression and suicidal thoughts, as is the case with debt.”

She added: “Losing your job is a sudden change and there can also be financial implications through loss of income, which in itself can cause anxiety. We’d urge anybody struggling with their mental health to seek support.”

#RT via Andrea and Matthew

Summer Newsletter- Bipolar UK


I am emailing you with the latest edition of the newsletter for the Bipolar UK Youth project.

Newsletter here: Newsletter Summer 2013

The project is currently looking ahead to the next few months and we would love to come and give talks/training/discussion with any young people/staff/groups.

Please do contact me if there is anything that we can take part or work together on.

Thanks again.

Kind regards,

Gloria Ho
London Youth Coordinator

Bipolar UK
11 Belgrave Road, London, SW1V 1RB
Tel: 020 7931 6486
Mob: 07879 998914

National Bipolar Awareness Day is taking place on Tuesday 8th October 2013

Be a part of this special day and share your story at

Join us at:

Charity Number 293340
Company Limited by Guarantee No. 1955570

Bipolar UK is the national charity in the UK dedicated to supporting individuals with the much misunderstood and devastating condition of bipolar, their families and carers. If you would like to find out more or make a donation, please ring 020 7931 6480 or visit the website above.

The information contained in this E-mail is confidential, and is intended only for the person to whom it is addressed. It is not legally binding and does not necessarily represent the views of Bipolar UK. If you are not the intended recipient then please delete this email and inform the sender.

Please help us to LIKE our youth facebook page!

#RT via Penelope

Stakeholder Event Southwark: Matthew’s blog

Mon 29 July @ The Dragon Cafe

DC Programme- Monday 29 July 2013

Benefit test overhaul as Atos rapped over wrongly passing fit to work up to 41% of claimants

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith’s department was told to act because of deep concerns about Atos at No10

Ministers have been ordered to revamp their “appalling” benefits testing system after they found 41% of claimants may have been wrongly passed fit to work.

The Government admitted many tests carried out by private firm Atos between October 2012 and March 2013 were “C grade”.

The French company said that did not mean its reports were wrong but it has been told to create an action plan.

Employment Minister Mark Hoban said new firms will also help carry out work capability assessments – the controversial tests which decide if someone on incapacity benefit is fit to work.

Meanwhile in a further blow for the DWP, the Coalition’s youth contract scheme has helped 4,600 18 to 24-year-olds in the past year – missing its target by more than 90%.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith’s department was told to act because of deep concerns about Atos at No10.

And Labour’s Liam Byrne said Mr Duncan Smith needed to “get a grip”.

He said: “This is a direct consequence of three years appalling contract management by Iain Duncan Smith.

“He has quite simply let Atos spin out of control and the taxpayer and vulnerable people are picking up the pieces.

“There are now profound questions about Atos’ role going forward. We will study this statement in detail, but it is now vital the Government rebuilds a system that’s fit for purpose.

In a statement Atos Healthcare said: “We continue to provide Work Capability Assessments on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions and continue to support the need to increase the number of health professionals on the ground to minimise waiting times and improve the system for those going through it.

“We are sorry when we do not meet our own high standards but can reassure that a ‘C’ grade report does not mean the assessment was wrong and there are checks and balances throughout the system so that the correct decision on benefit is made by the Department.”

In a further blow to Mr Duncan Smith, figures showed the Government’s flagship youth contract scheme had helped just 4,600 18-24-year-olds between June 2012 and May 2013.

The scheme offers firms a subsidy of up to £2,275 for taking on someone who has been out of work for at least six months and was supposed to have helped 160,000 young people.

But DWP figures showed it had missed its target by more than 90%.

Mr Byrne added: “The Youth Contract has utterly failed to get our young people back to work. This flagship scheme is on course to miss its target by more than 92% – no wonder there are still almost a million young people out of work.

“The welfare revolution we were promised has fallen apart. The Work Programme doesn’t work, Universal Credit is disappearing into the sunset, and now we know that the Youth Contract has been a disaster.”

#RT via Welfare News Service via