MP hears mental health carers’ concerns

MP John Hayes (left) meets the Rethink group at Johnson Community Hospital in Pinchbeck.
MP John Hayes (left) meets the Rethink group at Johnson Community Hospital in Pinchbeck.

CARERS of residents in the Spalding area with mental health issues have been able to air their concerns to the local MP.

John Hayes visited the Rethink group at Johnson Community Hospital in Pinchbeck.

Rethink is the biggest charity in the country dealing with mental health issues and is currently working with Time To Change to reduce the stigma connected to the illness.

Celebrities such as Ruby Wax, Stephen Fry and former spin doctor Alastair Campbell are supporting the campaign.

Trevor Jones, service leader for Rethink in Lincolnshire, said a major concern was the implications of the revised benefits system on mental health patients.

Patients applying for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) because they are not well enough to work have to satisfy the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) that they qualify for this benefit. The test used to decide this is called the Work Capability Assessment (WCA).

In order to qualify for ESA, patients need to score 15 points in total across the whole questionnaire.

Mr Jones said: “We are fighting to ensure that when mental health patients are given a work capability assessment they are treated sympathetically.

“In addition, there is also concern crisis care teams are inadequate, as is the discharge procedure and aftercare of patients who have been in hospital.”

Carers welcomed the opportunity to voice their concerns to Mr Hayes. Mr Jones said: “The carers got a lot from being able to talk to Mr Hayes. He took a lot of notes and said he would take the issues of concern to the relevant people.”

Groups are held for the Spalding area every third Thursday at Johnson Community Hospital in Pinchbeck from 1pm to 2pm and every third Wednesday for the Bourne/Deeping area at Deeping Community Centre.

For details about the Spalding area group call Bev of 07918 031660. Information regarding Bourne/Deeping is available from Hellen on 07918 630175.