Hafal’s Lee McCabe welcomes Code of Practice timescales

Hafal Recovery Practitioner Lee McCabe has welcomed the introduction of specific timescales on the provision of Care and Treatment Plans in the Code of Practice to Parts 2 and 3 of the Mental Health (Wales) Measure 2010.

The purpose of the Code, which has been laid before the National Assembly for Wales, is to give clear guidance to mental health service providers in Wales so that they meet their obligations under Part 2 of the Measure (Coordination of and Care Planning for Secondary Mental Health Service Users) and Part 3 (Assessments of Former Users of Secondary Mental Health Services).

During the Welsh Government’s consultations on the Code, Lee provided a service user’s perspective on how the new Code should prescribe practice on Care and Treatment Plans and reaccessing services. Supported by Hafal, Bipolar UK and the Mental Health Foundation, Lee, whose views were backed by 250 service users and carers, said the Code should ensure: holistic care planning; routine consideration of psychological therapies; and clear timescales for assessment and completion of care and treatment plans.

Commenting on the Code Lee said: “There are some welcome improvements in the Code of Practice compared with the draft published last year. It has been tightened up in a few very important areas which will please mental health service users. For example:

• The draft Code said a Care Co-ordinator should be appointed ‘certainly within a few weeks’ after being accepted into services. The final Code is more exact. It recommends that ‘a Care Co-ordinator is appointed when the individual is accepted into services, or very soon afterwards, and this should in all but exceptional circumstances be within 14 days’.

• The draft Code was vague on timescales. It said Care and Treatment Plans should be provided ‘as soon as is reasonably practicable’. The final Code is more specific. It says that ‘in most cases it should be produced within 6 weeks of the appointment of a Care Co-ordinator and distributed within 2 weeks of its completion’.

• Hafal campaigned to ensure patients have full involvement in what is included in their Care and Treatment Plan; it’s great to see the Code state that Care Coordinators should write care plans in plain language using the patient’s own words.”

Although Lee welcomed much that is in the Code he said there are a few areas where further advice on best practice will be needed.

He said: “Although the Code emphasises that Care and Treatment should be ‘comprehensive, holistic and person-focussed’ we want to see a standard where all of the eight life areas (accommodation; education and training; finance and money; medical and other forms of treatment, including psychological interventions; parenting or caring relationships; personal care and physical well-being; social, cultural or spiritual; work and occupation) are routinely addressed. Also, we are concerned that the Code does not put more emphasis on talking therapies; talking therapies should always be fully considered within Care and Treatment Plans. These are areas which service users will have to continue to campaign for and which should be addressed in quality standards for Care and Treatment Plans.”

Providing a resolution is not raised in the Assembly for its withdrawal during a period of 40 non-recess days, the Code will be published and be in force when Parts 2 and 3 of the Measure commence on June 6th 2012.

About Lee: Having been a service user with a diagnosis of schizophrenia I’m now a Recovery Practitioner at Hafal. I’ve been closely involved in the development of the new Mental Health (Wales) Measure from the beginning and gave evidence at the Assembly and at Parliament. In fact, when he proposed the new mental health legislation, Jonathan Morgan – then an AM – paid me a great compliment by saying that the most convincing evidence for reform came from listening to my story.

To view the Code of Practice please click here

To read Lee’s initial concerns about the draft Code and for further information and links relating to the Measure and the Code of Practice click here.