Expectations are not high…

It’s a weird world. There are some things I’ll never understand.

For instance why do we pile up worthless junk in our garages and leave our cars, worth thousands, on the drive.

I’ll never fathom out tongue piercing nor why it is that almost everything that tastes good is generally bad for you.

Why are red lights always red, when I’m in a hurry.

And, completely unfathomable is the announcement by NHSE, that it going to help people with mental health difficulties, get a job.

Not that it is not important for people to get a job that makes them happy, because it is. It’s just that… well… I’m suspicious… let’s look at it.

The announcement was made on Easter Saturday and was the second lead on the BBC Today programme.

I have no idea how many people with a mental health challenge and are unemployed, listened to the 7am flagship news programme.

My guess, not many and by the way, Today has just lost a million listeners.

And, without any Brexit to trouble the editors and the fire, in France is out and there is a news grey-out on the environment rebels, this will do…

The story has since been dropped, even from the BBC Health News website.

Important as it is, it was a weird second-lead choice for the BBC, only to be dropped.

I’m suspicious.

It was also a story in the paywalled Times. As I write, I can’t find any other references to it in the mainstream media.

And, I have no idea how many people with a mental health challenge and are unemployed will read the pay-walled Times…

No press releases about me, without me? I’m suspicious…

As I understand it, the idea is this;

…the NHS will commit millions to recruit and train ‘mental health employment specialist’ to persuade employers to offer jobs and patients, or shall we call them clients, to take jobs in the belief that work is a good idea and this ‘frees-up’ £6,000 per patient.

Six thousand? I can find no evidence to support this figure but I guess someone will know. Neither can I explain the obscure use of the words ‘free-up’. As of now, it’s meaningless.

I’m suspicious.

It’s in the NHSE press release … and good luck with it.

At a time of contested, near full employment, zero hours contracts and self employment, is the labour market that accessible?

I’m suspicious.

What happened to the Department of Work and Pensions… are we doing their job, now, along with Border Force and fighting knife crime.

Will it work?

Evaluations are thin on the ground. The Centre for Mental Health evaluated the pilots. It is a narrative driven document that is best filed under fanzine and gives us;

‘… is a disruptive innovation. It means also that change management approaches and a sensitivity to the commissioning environment need to be integral to implementation.’

Whatever that means.

I’m suspicious.

In 2015 the government commissioned this report which tells us a similar scheme had low referrals, variation across sites, high numbers of drop-outs, inability to align mental health treatment and job availability and incomplete data.

Hardly something you’d want to bet £10m of the taxpayer’s hard-earned on.

NHSE says three areas and ‘some’ London Boroughs have helped 9,000 in twelve months. Where, dunno. I make that about 150 a day and I have no idea what ‘helped’ means and…

… I’m suspicious.

Something else occurred to me. Where are all these specialist job hunters going to come from? They are not cheap, up-to £25k pa and who is going to recruit and train them, oh and at what cost?

Don’t get me wrong… I absolutely get the path to ill health starts a long way from the NHS’ door and the road to recovery will take more than the NHS alone.

There are eight examples of recovery colleges, doing a great job, on the pages of The Academy of Fabulous Stuff.

But… I do not get how £5m a year, for two years, means 20,000 people will receive ‘tailored’ care for £500 each and as the press release confirms, only one in four will get a job.

I’m suspicious.

You will be reading this after Easter. A period that the Liturgical Calendar calls, ‘Ordinary Time’.

Ordinary Time, is a period in which there is neither feasting, as in Christmas and Easter, nor penance as in Advent and Lent.

Ordinary Time is a period of watchfulness and expectation.

I think we are certainly in a period of watchfulness but I admit, as you might suspect…

… my expectations are not too high!

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Reproduced at by kind permission of Roy Lilley.