Consultation event is music to service users’ ears

Gerald Nkwo, a service user
Gerald Nkwo, a service user, at The times they are a-changin event at Charlton House

Greenwich mental health service users who attended a consultation event on Wednesday 6 April 2011 at Charlton House found new meaning to Bob Dylan’s song ‘The times they are a-changin,’ which the event was named after.

Trevor Eldridge, Director of Adult Acute Mental Health Services, gave an overview on how the NHS is changing, including the Government’s vision for the future and the new Health Bill.

In light of these changing times and the introduction of a new national Mental Health Strategy, participants were asked to identify what they thought the priorities for mental health services in Greenwich should be for the next six months.

Gerald Nkwo, a long-term service user and gardener on an allotment project co-run by the Greenwich Community Occupational Therapy Service and Assertive Outreach Team, wanted more people to be able to access the scheme: “The programme is good and I think it should be more accessible to service users. I also think there should be more focus on our physical health as well.”

Another user, Fatima Durmush, 51, was satisfied with the services she receives, but said if she could change anything it would be: “to improve the environment and have more say in my medication.” What Fatima wants is to see a change in people’s perception of mental health problems: “I’ve been a service user since I was 24 – I study at the open polytechnic, I write and I paint - I am part of the community and I don’t want to be stigmatised.

“If people could respect that everyone is different, the world would be a better place.”

Other areas participants wanted to see improvements in were choice of treatment, more personalised care planning, better information and communication, improved access to services, better support after discharge for carers and family and improved services for older people.

Linda Pearce, Service User and Carer Consultation Manager, will work with staff in Greenwich to use feedback from the event to plan future improvements and changes.

Published on 11th April 2011