Seagull Weekly Briefing 08/03

Conversion therapy bill fails to progress, adult social care staff strike recess, plan to improve mental health service access and more

Seagull Weekly Briefing 08/03
Source: Amber Cronin

Good morning, and welcome to the Brighton Seagull's Weekly Briefing. This week we've crossed the 11-hour day-length threshold and combined with a bit more sunshine it's starting to feel like Spring's just around the corner. Don't look at the forecast for the weekend; read the news instead.

News This Week

MP's conversion therapy bill fails to get government backing

Source: Lloyd Russell-Moyle

The second reading of MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle's bill to ban conversion therapy has failed to progress through the House of Commons.

Concerns were raised during the debate on the Conversion Practices (Prohibition) Bill, including by MP Miriam Cates who claimed the bill would 'capture practices that are not harmful and for which we should not be legislating', and by MP Rosie Duffield who said 'In everyday conversations among friends or families, who steps in, and at what point, to decide that those conversations amount to attempted conversion?'

Although 68 MPs voted for the bill to move to Committee Stage, compared to 15 who voted against it, because there were fewer than 100 MPs voting for the bill, it did not pass.

MP Russell-Moyle said:

It's a shame the government couldn't back my Bill today and sadly we didn't have the numbers to stop it getting spoken out.

This bill was a compromise and a reasonable way forward - but some clearly don’t want to compromise, even with a clear majority of House wanting this bill to pass today.

Thank you so much to everyone who met with me and to colleagues and campaign groups who supported my Bill. There will be other opportunities and we shall keep pushing for a ban that protects the entire LGBT+ community.

A debate on conversion therapy may still be debated by MPs in the coming weeks, if certain amendments to the Criminal Justice Bill are selected.

Adult social care concerns over pay may come to resolution

We reported back in November that adult social care workers were striking for 24 hours over pay.

Now, we can confirm that Unison has called off another planned strike, as negotiations are continuing following an offer from the council aimed at resolving issues raised by Unison around pay and career progression.

This move has been welcomed by the lead councillor for adult social care, Tristram Burden.

Councillor Burden said:

We’re really pleased that Unison has accepted our proposal for resolving the strike, based on further details we shared about the offer the council made in January.

We believe the agreements reached provide a long term and sustainable offer both to encourage recruitment and retention in adult social work in our city, and as a significant gesture that recognises the extraordinary service our social workers provide.

We are listening and responding to what our social workers and Unison have been telling us about the challenges they face.

We’re committed to appropriate remuneration and enhanced grade progression.

We’re extending their mandate to strike for another three months because we’re confident that negotiations on this proposal will progress positively and at pace.

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🖋 News in Brief 🖋

  • Rail fares have risen by 5% as of last week. This means an annual season ticket from Brighton to London has gone up by £275, from £5,616 to £5,891.
If you have a story for Seagull, please get in touch with our editor at [email protected].

Dog of the Week

This sweet dog is Fudge, a fourteen (and a half) year old labrador who died yesterday. Her owner, Jane, said:

She loved sitting out on the patio looking over her domain like the lion king with her legs crossed. She was known as the queen of the grove. She loved dancing, and her favourite thing was the beach and sea. Obviously a lab she loved treats, she was the most loving dog ever never growled or snapped at anyone, except a male dog if it tried to hump her!

The Big One

Source: Hassocks5489

What's happening? In an effort to improve mental health services in the city, Sussex Health & Care has launched a 'Mental Health Urgent and Emergency Care Improvement Plan'.

What will the plan do? It will emphasise a shift towards preventative measures and collaborative approaches, trying to support individuals in 'self defined crises in the most accessible, lightest and least restrictive services possible'.

What does this look like? In real terms, it means developing crisis intervention teams, expanded dementia crisis teams, and the integration of mental health services into the NHS 111 service. There is also Text Sussex, a service where people can text 85258 and receive text based support, and the introduction of mental health response vehicles.

What are the objectives of this plan? The following:

  • 20% reduction in mental health emergency room attendances by March 2025, which looks like 327 fewer attendances every month
  • 19% reduction in section 136 detentions, or 70 fewer a month
  • Elimination of all over 72-hour waits in emergency departments by November 2023
  • 21.5% reduction in average length of stay in mental health beds by September 2024: a decrease from 57 days to 46 days
  • 20% improvement in average time waited for a mental health bed by March 2025, from nearly seven days to five and a half days

What are the challenges this plan faces? Not enough staff, insufficient funding, lack of engagement from system partners, and unexpected demand increase.

How will these be mitigated? Recruitment and retention initiatives and the development of new posts, collaboration with providers and demand and capacity modelling, using forums and agreeing on plans, and monitoring performance metrics to look for early warnings of demand increase.

That's all for this week—please subscribe, and forward to friends who might be interested!