Concordat Colours

The Crisis Care Concordat has it’s National Summit in London next week – a gathering of all the signatory agencies in order to mark progress ahead of the first big deadline.  For those who follow me on Twitter, you’ll notice that I keep uploading a developing map of England, shaded in various colours, like this (as of November 19th 2014) —

This is what the colours mean –

  • Red – no progress yet recorded.  Doesn’t mean nothing’s happening or that discussions aren’t occuring.  Just that they haven’t yet delivered the first outcome.
  • Yellow the first outcome: this means that individual areas have agreed in principle to work together to deliver what the Concordat aims to do and that they are going into 2015 with the intention of delivering an area-specific action plan to work out what in particular needs doing locally.
  • Green the second outcome: this means that areas have completed and jointly agreed their action plan with that commitment to deliver upon it.

The keen-eyed amongst you will obviously recognise that nothing needs to actually happen in the real world for an area to ‘go green’.  Your local services could, in theory, be completely and entirely unchanged and unaffected, despite going ‘green’.  For this reason, I want to put an argument for in introduction of another colour … or two!  Do we also need something that says “We’ve delivered our Action Plan”? … perhaps one colour for ‘delivered in part’ and another for ‘delivered in full’?!

This suggestion hits at the heart of certain frustrations that many have – and I’m not just referring to police officers here.   When are we going to stop talking about this and DO something?  Action plans are great – it doesn’t actually mean a damned thing has changed or been done, quite frankly!  Actually, whilst some areas are meeting to discuss their commitment and / or their action plans, some of them are also busy closing place of safety services and reducing hospital beds which will increase the pressure at the bottleneck of crisis care.  There are AMHPs, mental health nurses and doctors working in frontline mental health services who are just as weary anyone else having worked their whole 35 or 40 year careers with the same frustrations about the crisis care interface.  Difficulties in arranging the detention, conveyance and safety of vulnerable people have been ongoing for decades.

So whilst the Concordat is bringing people together and we are seeing chat, declaration and plans it’s vital that local leadership turns this into an operational reality on the ground because patients and victims live there, not in meeting rooms where concordats are discussed and plans are conceived.  And a final plea from me in this short post: something I’ve concluded all over again now that I’m back in the thick of this – Concordats need to have a detail for proper, applied legal education for all of the health, police and social care professionals who will be involved – and NOT just frontline staff.  No point managers conceiving how services will be built and run, unless those services are predicated on the legal frameworks that govern us all.  I still read and hear legal nonsense, most days as my last post highlighted.

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IMG_0053IMG_0052Winner of the President’s Medal from
the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Winner of the Mind Digital Media Award.


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6 thoughts on “Concordat Colours

  1. Michael
    Whilst I totally agree with the sentiments of the Concordat,I think we all recognise the operational realities you articulate. I just thought wouldn’t be interesting if the Concordat also contained meaningful sanctions for those who didn’t deliver or maybe it does and I am not one of the keened eye you refer to ???? just a thought……

  2. Having attended a recent Cocordat event – lots of good peeps & lots of good will & words & endeavour & macro ideas. The devil is in the micro/detail & we will know there has been progress when we are all resourced/enabed/capable of turning up to a MH crisis or MHA Assessment happily together (if required) & all act appropriately understanding the law & the Code of Practice & have a bed (local) or POS & a means of conveying……. I am not holding my breath but I am crossing my fingers & bothering/networking/poking people & organisations as best I can while facing the currently reality everday.

    The current situation is at times a shambles & we should all be able to do so much better.

  3. Michael, I don’t know how to break this news- the crisis concordat is just words and spin. My local crisis team and bed managers – in inner city London- is currently in a consultation period which will result in a 50% cut in frontline staff working afternoons and evenings. 50% (10 staff to 5)! Any suggestion of things in acute crisis care being anything other than deteriorating fast would be met with absolute derision. There may be a few headline grabbing moves- introduction of phone access; possibly odd nurse visiting overnight- but even this will be at the expense of the severely unwell who usually do not call emergency services but are behind closed doors neglected and distressed. It’s like the early 1990s again but with far less hospital beds this time around.

  4. What do pledges, agreements in principle, joint action plans, task forces, area specific action plans yada yada have in common?

    (1) None of them actually involve anything tangible;

    (2) They are a form of organisational masturbation where people spout off all kinds of well meaning stuff at a point in time, that actually means not a lot when it comes to action.

    Until we start penalising (and not in the form of fiscal fines but in other ways), nothing will ever change expect yet another layer of best intentioned nothing-ness.

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