Archive for August, 2006

Service Improvements

August 24, 2006

Thanks for that Brat Prince, but I think you are being too fair to managers etc.   They are paid a lot of money to provide services for us, not cut them back.   If they want to spend their time finding ways of cutting services, then they should not be in the job of providing them.   We need people who can work out ways round a problem, instead of just deciding to cut something out and leave it there.

mack the knife. 


Service Improvements – How?

August 17, 2006

Dear Oberon

Personally, I feel that the Welsh Assembly Government are not taking mental health issues seriously enough.   Dr Gibbons recently announced an additional £5 million to improve mental health services across Wales.   I participate in Monmouthshire’s Service User Network, and I am aware of some of the difficulties faced by health service managers and commissioners.

Mental Health Services do not overspend their budgets, but as there is currently a £40 million deficit in Gwent NHS Trust as a whole, Mental Health Services are legally obligated (under something called ‘Corporate Responsibility’) to pay back 8% of this deficit.   I failed my GCSE maths exam, but my calculator states that this is £3,2000,000.   Certainly not pocket change, even if you asked David Beckham’s financial advisor!

While paying back this huge sum of money, managers are expected to simultaneously improve services which have been previously chronically under-invested.   If 1 in 4 people suffer from mental ill health at some point of their lives (this is the same statistic as cancer and heart disease which are priorities 1 and 2 for the Welsh Assembly, – mental health is apparently priority 3), why can’t people in power see that it is not financially viable to promote such services with peanuts?   People like myself , who have used mental health services, are aware that the staff are over-worked, and very often cannot provide what their clients need in terms of quality services due to under-investment.

Just to top it off, more services are cut every year, under the banner of modernisation.   Services are cut, people have to rely on voluntary sector services like MIND and HAFAL, which are not given the same amount of money to provide these services as Gwent NHS Trust had previously required to run them.

Does this sound like lunacy, or am I just losing the plot?

Keep it surreal,

Brat Prince.  

Forum at The Sessions House, Usk

August 15, 2006


We usually meet in the Library.   Details of this meeting are:


Participation Network and Forum  

First, an apoplogy for the sudden cancellation of the meeting planned for 20th September.   This was due to problems in arranging transport, and I am sorry that people were disappointed that this could not be overcome.   However, the situation is likely to improve in the near future. 

The next meeting of the Network and Forum will take place at The Sessions House, Usk onWednesday 18th October, from 1.30 – 3.30pm.  There will be three main items on the Agenda which may encourage you to come and take part!                             


 1.  Housing and Homelessness in relation to Mental Health in Monmouthshire. 

( At present demand far exceeds resources – and this will be an opportunity for you to bring into discussion your experiences.  You may also want to take part in working on solutions to this situation.)  

2.   Self Support Groups.

 Why should you be interested?   What could they do for you?    

Come along – you might be surprised!

 3.  Evidencing the needs of service users through the use of Power Point and video. 

Let’s talk some more about this.

For further information tel Debbi or Tony on 01291673952 or e-mail: and

Monmouthshire Network and Forum meeting

August 15, 2006

Next meeting will be held at The Sessions House, Usk at 1.30pm on Wednesday 23rd August.   Come if you can, it will be interesting.   Ends 3.30 or so.  For more information contact Advocacy service on 01291-673952