During Carers Week 2007, the South West Yorkshire Mental Health Trust is encouraging carers to take advantage of two opportunities to ensure their voice is heard and help improve health services. Carers Week takes place 11-17th June and aims to draw attention to the issues faced by the UK’s six million carers.
Locally, carers are being urged to join the South West Yorkshire Mental Health NHS Trust as a member. The Trust is currently applying to become a foundation trust – a different type of NHS organisation which is run locally with local people as members, having a say in how services are developed. As a member carers can have their say on how mental health and learning disability services can be improved as well as helping develop new services for carers.
The Trust is also encouraging carers to take part in a national consultation, launched by the Government this week, which aims to engage carers in debate about “what would make a positive difference or improve your life as a carer?".
A national website has been set up where carers can make suggestions about what would improve their lives. The website is: www.newdealforcarers.org
Chief executive of the South West Yorkshire Mental Health Trust, Steven Michael said, “Carers play a vital role in the lives of people with mental ill-health and learning disabilities, and their contribution is invaluable. Carers often have first-hand experience of our services, and are well-placed to tell us how we can change and improve things. Also the difficult and demanding nature of caring can mean that lots of carers are susceptible to developing their own mental health issues and may need support from our services to manage them. "
He continues, "We’d like to invite all carers to think about becoming a member of our proposed foundation trust. We’d also encourage carers to contribute to the government’s consultation – carers’ views really matter to the NHS and we want to make sure they’re heard."
Anybody in the Yorkshire and Humber area over the age of 11 can join the South West Yorkshire Mental Health NHS Trust as a member. Members can choose the level of their involvement, so they might just opt to receive information or they can choose to come along to special meetings about issues that affect them. Members will also be able to vote for people to represent their interests on the Members’ Council or even stand for election themselves.
To become a member of the proposed foundation Trust or to find out more visit: www.southwestyorkshire.nhs.uk, call: 01484 343395 or email: email@example.com