A Rosie view of advocacy…

On Saturday morning I was so pre-occupied with the recent news that the ‘right to advocacy’ committment has disappeared from the Mental Health Bill published on 17th November, that it was a couple of  minutes before I realised that my struggles to find the sleeves in my bath towel were never going to be successful.    Have you seen the text of the speech given by Rosie Winterton, Minister of State for Health Services, at the Sainsbury Conference Centre earlier this year?                                                                                                                                        
                         images.jpg                                                                          winterton-2.jpg
                                          two pics of Rosie Winterton 

 The following is an extract from it:  “We remain committed to modernising mental health services to provide patients with quick, easy access to high quality services and effective treatment and care, and to give people a say in the treatment and a say in the care they receive. And if that is to mean anything, we need effective advocacy.I have already paid tribute to the work done over many years by voluntary and other advocacy services and groups.  The importance of their contribution has been considerable.  We believe that it is now time to build on their work and contribution, and to develop advocacy services that better meet the demands and challenges of 21st century.We know that some vulnerable people can feel overwhelmed by statutory services. People can even feel intimidated and do not know where to start to engage with services. And, of course, it is often when we are unwell that we find it hardest to explain what we need. Many service providers understand this all too well and advocates have an invaluable role to play in all of this.Advocacy is a way of making sure that the voices of those people most in need are heard,  thereby enabling  everyone  to access the services and support to which they are entitled. It means taking action to help people say what they want, to secure their rights, to represent their interests and obtain the services that best meet their needs. If people can’t do that, in this area in particular, it can have an impact on recovery.”

High talk, as they say in Arizona, and then when the Mental Health Bill was published on 17/11/06, we read that the right to advocacy commitment had been dropped from the bIll.   So what happened to the sensitivity and understanding being shown earlier in the year ?   Didn’t the following quotes mean anything real?

“And if that is to mean anything, we need effective advocacy.” 

“Advocacy is a way of making sure that the voices of those people most in need are heard”

……….”If people can’t do that, in this area in particular, it can have an impact on recovery.

Fine talk, as they say in Texas, but how do you understand it?   


One Response to “A Rosie view of advocacy…”

  1. Dino Bones Says:

    Well, certainly sounds like fine talk…but yet again no action!

    Why are we surprised?

    I mean it isn’t like the government do a u-turn on mental health issues very often, is it?

    Well there was the Draft Mental Health Bill. Years of consultation. Then when they don’t get the backing they need…well they do it anyway.

    Great basis for a hypocrisy, sorry I mean’t democracy…or did I?

    I wonder why these issues don’t get so much media coverage? Not very politically attractive? I guess helping people suffering mental illness getting the services they want doesn’t fall into the social justice catagory.

    What do you think?

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