The Mental Health Reference Group (MHRG) emerged from a public meeting held by Herefordshire Primary Care
Trust (PCT) entitled ‘Do You Have an Interest in Mental Health?’ which was held at The Kindle
Centre on 3rd March 2008.
A copy of the MHRG ‘TERMS OF REFERENCE / CONSTITUTION’ is on an adjoining page.
Mental Health includes Dementia, Learning Difficulties and Alcohol & Substance Abuse.
Membership to the Mental Health Reference Group is free.
MHRG Procurement Project
In September 2009 the Group was approached by Richard Carroll, Managing Director of the Mental
Health Procurement Project and tasked by him to run a consultation period with Mental Health Carers, Service Users
and Third Sector organisations covering all aspects of mental health, throughout the whole of Herefordshire.
Six workshops were held over a period of 5 months resulting in our ‘Submission Document’ being
added in total into the ‘bidding process’ by the Mental Health Procurement Board.
When the final 3 bidders came to do their presentation, ten members of the MHRG were in attendance. Furthermore
the MHRG requested that a further meeting to formerly interview each bidder take place and then we would report back directly
to the Mental Health Procurement Board. The outcome was completed successfully.
Proposed NHS (PCT) GP Led Walk-In Health Centre - Stonebow Unit Garden
The Group swung into action at the news that Planning Permission already lay on the Herefordshire Council
The fight was long and hard - public meetings, petitions and lobbying resulted in justified arguments against these proposals.
Health, road safety, safeguarding issues, and above all the use of the garden which is a well known addition to and seen
as paramount to the recovery of residents in the Acute Unit.
It is our belief that the weight of public support and opposition helped to have the Planning Application deferred on
the due date.
However, 2 years on now, we are still closely monitoring the situation - just in case!
Our Achievements So Far
This year it has been difficult to make progress within our intended plan. It was business as usual (but
not as usual, in reality) as the date set for the formation of ‘2gether NHS Foundation Trust - Herefordshire’ was 1st April
2011. Since this date we have been in a period of change, as would be expected. However, we have continued to grow in partnership
working and our expertise continues to increase.
- 2 of our members (1 Carer & 1 Service User) have engaged in a two year commitment to Implementing
Recovery Organisational Change (ImROC) Project representing Herefordshire Mental Health Services.
- Under the West Midlands Quality Review Service (WMQRS) Programme, 3 of our
members have qualified to carry out reviews of Mental Health Services, Learning Difficulty Services, Vulnerable Adults
in Acute Hospitals and Services for People with Dementia
- Our ‘Interviewing Forum’ of 6 persons have qualified and carried out interviews
for clinical staff within the trust area.
- 3 delegates attended a Dept. of Health ‘Listening Event’ for West Midlands
- A member of the group spoke at a consultation meeting with the Secretary of State for Health (Andrew Lansley)
- At a Law Commission Consultation on the UK Government White Paper on ‘Adult Social
Care’, one of our members spoke on behalf of Herefordshire. Her opinion was echoed by over 100 attendees
- 1 member undertook 3 days research with Aston University - Business Research Team. Subject: ‘The
Effectiveness of Community Mental Health Teams (CMHT)’
- 1 of the Group facilitated for a Dept of Health Commission by Lincoln University on the ‘Proposed
Mapping (UK) of Care Plans’
- A UK Government Experts’ Briefing on the proposed strategy ‘No Health Without Mental
Health’ was attended by a member of the Group
- Our Chairperson sits on the Management Board of LINk / Healthwatch and also attends the Acute Care Forum
meetings. She is also a director of a Community Interest Company - Carers In Partnership,
which covers the whole of the West Midlands
- Several of our members are also members of this organisation - Carers In Partnership CIC recently organised
a Lottery funded event in Ledbury for 120 attendees entitled ‘Caring in a Rural Environment’ and
they gave this event full support and look forward to positive outcomes
- The MHRG introduced to Herefordshire Mental Health Services ‘The Triangle of Care’ and
circulated in excess of 200 copies through out the staff and to all GP’s in Herefordshire
- Bi-monthly meetings with the Locality Director (Mark Hemming) are held in order that we are fully informed
about Mental Health developments and to continue our partnership working
- MHRG meetings include speakers on Voluntary and Third Sector Organisations together with consultants,
clinicians and all involved in Mental Health Services. Relative legislation and information from In
Control, Time For Change, ReThink, Bi-Polar Org, National Mental Health Development Unit, National Survivor User Network,
Suresearch, Carers UK, Princess Royal Trust and Community Care are circulated.
NB: Many of the above are ongoing.
Other Work In Progress
This is as follows:
- The MHRG website is currently under construction. It is envisaged that this will be completed by the end
of September and will prove to be a valuable point of contact for all concerned about mental health.
- We are looking at ways to attract more members by further publicity and advertising, especially in rural
areas. Indeed it is hoped to take the members of the MHRG to hold discussion groups in the 5 market towns
- It is proposed to hold a 1 day Seminar for Mental Health Staff of all grades, Local Councillors, Voluntary
Organisations, Carers and Service Users in order to promote ‘Partnership Working’
- As public education is of paramount importance to the MHRG, we are currently examining the possibilities
of working with the Colleges and University Management in Herefordshire, to this end. We are also hoping to take the ‘Education
Not Discrimination Project (END)’ to the Schools within our County.
Memberships of Other Organisations
The MHRG are registered with the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) and Herefordshire
Voluntary Action (HVA).
The Group are also represented on the Management Board of Herefordshire Disability
The MHRG would respectfully point out at this juncture that it is, in fact, the only
voice representing Mental Health Carers and Service Users in Herefordshire.