No decision about me, without me
Posted Tuesday 26 June 2012
It’s probably an understatement to say it’s been a strange year or so for the NHS, with a lot of changes being introduced. Many of us have personal experience of the NHS, either because we have had to use its services or have supported friends and family with their care.
Whether the NHS has helped you or not, one thing’s for sure - we need to make sure that the NHS works for us.
I’m working on Mind’s response to the Government’s latest consultation on shared decision-making. I’d like to hear what your thoughts and experiences of shared decision-making are in the NHS, so that we can include them in our response.
Everyone who uses the NHS should have the right to be fully involved in all the decisions made about their healthcare needs. From what their diagnosis and condition means for them, having a say in what treatment they’d like to how they want to manage their condition and what their preferred end result would be.
Decisions made about our healthcare need to be made with us. We should be able to tell the GP, nurse and so on what we feel is right for us.
Is it really rocket science to recognise that people who live with and manage their mental health problems are the experts in their condition? Surely we should be able to work together on our care plan - with the right help and support from professionals.
But this clear professional support is not always available at the right time, as Sue*, a Mind member, recently told us: “Not everyone can grasp information – especially at times when they feel very unwell. We shouldn’t feel left alone with information and to make decisions on our own.”
The Government has the good intention to make shared decision making a reality in the NHS. But what does this actually mean? Will people with mental health problems get the opportunity to be more involved in their healthcare when they have conversations with their GP? Will personal health budgets be helpful for planning care needs? Can people choose which psychological therapy they would like to use in their local area?
These are vital questions that we need real answers to.
Paul*, who is supported by one of our local Minds, told us: ”We should be able to define what we want and feel comfortable in sharing those thoughts with our GP… It shouldn’t be down to professionals to tell me what I should achieve as recovery.”
We’ll fight your corner, but to do so I really need your views and experiences. Please comment below, or email us with your ideas, thoughts and experiences by 17 July 2012.
Help us show the Government the realities faced by people with mental health problems.
Rezina Hakim, Policy & Campaigns Officer
*Not their real names
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