September 2010 – Policy on Social Work in Multi Disciplinary Mental Health Teams
This paper was written in order to develop a BASW position on the role of social workers in multi disciplinary mental health teams in England and to make recommendations regarding the structures that are essential to enable social workers to effectively deliver services to people with mental health problems. The paper also has relevance for social workers and social work managers who are working in other multi disciplinary teams.
The rationale for the paper was to respond to the concerns of a significant number of social workers who work in Community Mental health teams (CMHTs).
Wider issues of the future role of social work in developing mental health services are referenced, however the primary product is a series of recommendations of a set of principles and standards for the effective deployment of social workers in CMHTs. The paper takes in to account a number of significant changes that are occurring in mental health services at the moment. Some are of immediate practical concern and some more developmental. Immediate concerns include the impact of the “Payment by Results” (PbR) funding mechanisms and the personalisation agenda. Another immediate issue is reports of a degree of disaggregation occurring in some CMHTs and some very concerning reports that CMHTs are disappearing. Developmental issues include the work coming out of “New Horizons” (DH 2009) and the Government response to New Horizons August 2010,(DH 2010) which makes strongly the welcome recognition that mental health is everyone’s concern and that a strategic approach to mental well being in communities is very important. Brief mention is also made on the potential impact on the new health white paper Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS (DH July 2010).