In the last year or so the future of mental health services in this country has been intensively discussed. COHSE, MIND, and the Richmond Fellowship have produced their ‘blueprints', outlining details of the way they see services being organized. All variety of professional organizations have been busy presenting evidence to the House of Commons Social Services Committee which is specifically examining community care. The DHSS has committed more joint finance to ‘care in the community’ projects and Regional Health Authorities are examining the strategies to close large psychiatric hospitals. Consequently, District Health Authorities, in many cases, are planning the shape of a new mental health service which places increasingly less reliance on the large institution. The phrase ‘community care’ has now become so hackneyed in planning circles that for many it has lost whatever meaning it may have once had. However, despite all the rhetoric, and indeed all the planning activity, psychiatric nurses themselves have still to voice coherently their thoughts and fears about the shape of things to come.
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