Meeting Summary 10 December 2014


15 / 12 / 2014 1.40pm

Summary of the 3rd Partners Meeting – 10th December 2014

The theme of the 3rd partners meeting was ‘Parity of Esteem – Valuing mental Health with Physical Health’. Mohamed Jogi, National Programme Manager from NHS Employers welcomed partners and speakers to the meeting and provided the following background to set the context of the day;
He emphasised that generally both physical and mental health wellbeing are often looked at separately. This can be described as professional monocular-ism – a tendency to view people through one eye at a time-one eye for physical health problems, the other eye for mental health problems. He concluded that it was crucial to cultivate a developed binocular vision and value the importance of mental health on a par with that of physical health.

The first speaker was Rebecca Cotton, Director of Mental Policy, Mental Health Network, NHS Confederation. The title of her presentation was ‘What does parity of esteem mean? Who will deliver it?’ She highlighted the changing attitudes towards mental health within society and also the cost of the inequalities suffered by those with mental health problems. She also emphasised the impact of age, ethnicity and mental health. She concluded by sharing the work of the mental health network and their efforts to create a political consensus and also work with representative bodies to promote parity of esteem.

Our second speaker was Ricky Somal, Equality Manager, Southern Health. His provided an insight into how the trust has integrated physical and mental health, and challenged stigma around mental health. He emphasised the importance of understanding the population and their needs and taking a whole system approach to providing integrated care that takes on board both the physical and mental health of the patient.

Our third speaker was Professor Stephen Bevan, The Work Foundation. The title of his presentation was ‘Mental Health at work – Still the Elephant in the Room?’ He highlighted evidence that suggests mental illness is very common (one in six of UK workers) yet it remains a difficult topic for people to discuss openly at work. He emphasised the importance of developing workplaces where staff felt empowered and investing resources around ‘good work and job design’.

Our fourth speaker was Dr Andrew Alexander, Medical Director, SignHealth. He spoke about the report ‘The Health of Deaf People: SignHealth – Sick of it Report (2014)’. He highlighted evidence which shows that Deaf people are at risk of potentially life-threatening illnesses because of misdiagnosis and poor treatment. He highlighted common barriers such as the lack of interpreters at consultations, bad access to services, and a shortage of health information in an accessible format. He also shared his experience of working as a member of a hospital equalities committee and the role of leadership in taking forward the agenda.

Our next speakers were Debbie Edwards, Adam Chilcott and Harinder Dhaliwal, Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. They shared their case study video ‘The Patient Journey’ which has been designed to help patients with learning disabilities to understand the patient journey and to demonstrate reasonable adjustments.

Our final speaker was Mark Roberts from A4e. He shared the work of his organisation centered on running a range of ‘frontline’ public services including employment, welfare, training, education, and financial advice; a great deal of which they provide in partnership with a variety of public sector, not for profit and private sector organisations.  Mark shared a series of case studies based on how A4e have worked with organisations and individuals with mental health and learning disabilities and other issues to gain employment.

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