Last night we decamped to St Bernard’s Hospital, next to Ealing Hospital, which is the headquarters of West London Mental Health Trust (WLMHT). WLMHT meets the mental health needs of people across Hammersmith and Fulham, Ealing and Hounslow.
We had another full agenda covering:
- Nuffield Speech and Language Unit – again!
- a presentation on health inequalities
- childrens’ and adolecsents’ mental health services
- stopping smoking.
The review of the Nuffield now seems to be safely in the hands of Ealing PCT who are starting right at the start and looking at demand for the service across its whole catchment area, basically anyone who can get there in an hour. They will be running a proper consultation process in the new year. None of this will be cheap as they have effectively hired an interim manager for at least 6 months to run the process.
Ruth Barnes gave a presentation on health inequalities and pointed out that health inequalities are Ealing PCT’s number 1 priority. That is fine but it is a bit obvious that those that make all the right choices all their lives, whether it is in education or health, will have better outcomes than those that make crap choices all their lives. The presentation kept referring to the good outcomes in places like Hangar Hill where homes cost about £2 million. If you live in one of these you have probably been making cute decisions all your life and you will probably have a long life. If you follow the inequality logic to its natural conclusion you end up pushing all of your health resources at people who are basket cases. It does seem though that the PCT is responding to this priority in the right way with behaviour changing initiatives – unfortunately these are just the services that they are having to freeze or cut due to Labour’s mismanagement of the health service.
Trevor Farmer gave an overview of the childrens’ and adolecsents’ mental health services these seem to be undergoing reorganisation right now to ensure that people are kept out of the most intensive service provision. This is a good thing in its own right, if it is the right choice for the individuals involved, but I am afraid that a major driver is budget cuts. It looks like the service will lose £200,000 next year so will in effect suffer a 10% budget cut on its £2 million overall revenue budget.
We had a brief discussion of the stopping smoking service. At £250K per annum this may be money well spent. The question I failed to ask was how many people are stopping! Damn!
We have decided to ask the PCT for a breakdown of its funding last year, this year and next so that we can understand budget pressures and their impacts on services.
The meeting closed just before 9.30pm. Time well spent on the whole.