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Payment for involvement

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davidc-k

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In another thread, ramboghettouk makes some strong points about service users who are paid for their involvement.

I think this is a big topic in itself so I've started this thread to see if we can unravel it a bit.

There seem to be a number of issues at stake:

Is payment for involvement a good or bad thing in principle?

Is there a difference between payment for a piece of involvement (eg filling in a questionnaire, attending a meeting) and being paid as a service user involvement worker?

Do service providers pay more attention to service users involvement when they've paid for it?

I'm sure there are many other equally good questions, and maybe even some answers...
 
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ramboghettouk

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I have to say i have limited energy and if i'm in a meeting can find it hard to find the time to cook a cheap meal, so could do with enough for a takeaway, one of the reasons i don 't attend meetings is i find it hard to argue my case when hungry and having made a diffcult bus journey whilst that doesn't apply to the proffessionals who quite often will pay for taxis for they're yes men
 
nickh

nickh

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In another thread, ramboghettouk makes some strong points about service users who are paid for their involvement.

I think this is a big topic in itself so I've started this thread to see if we can unravel it a bit.

There seem to be a number of issues at stake:

Is payment for involvement a good or bad thing in principle?

Is there a difference between payment for a piece of involvement (eg filling in a questionnaire, attending a meeting) and being paid as a service user involvement worker?

Do service providers pay more attention to service users involvement when they've paid for it?

I'm sure there are many other equally good questions, and maybe even some answers...
Thanks for unravelling this bit david - I am a bit overwhelmed by the questions in the first post and want to think about them a bit more.

Not that I have any very clear views on the payment topic :).

But as to the principle - expenses incurred (eg: travel) should definitely be refunded and appropriate refreshments provided. Beyond that I am not sure that payment is a good thing in principle? (though I am very open to persuasion). Maybe where specific 'work' is involved this is different - otherwise it could be argued that Service Users are just being taken advantage of. Yup, I think here payment is appropriate - but I am thinking of say interviewing (which I will be doing in a few weeks I hope) rather than attending meetings. I am not sure that I wouldn't feel compromised if I was paid for attending meetings :confused:

I definitely don't think providers should pay any more attention to people because they are paid - that seems quite wrong to me.

Apologies for the fact that this is hopelessly rambling! I am really more interested in listening to what others have to say and trying to learn more.

Nick.
 
midnight

midnight

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I know I don't claim money because I work as well depite the fact on one occassion I got up at 4am to be at a conference at 10.30 200miles away - got stuck in floods and ended up not getting home until 1am the following morning

Couple of points that I found an issue:
1. when I travel on business I always always book in adavnce it saves money - the NHS booked last minute and forked out £180 x 4 for us to go to this conference. This was a waste of NHS money in my opinion
2. when I suggested that we aborted the trip due to high winds and delays on the way down - we did not take the conservative decision and come home. An issue : well with at least one vulnerable service user and a pregnant lady on board - you can decide
3. I put my foot down at 10.00pm and said when we got the the next stop I would check into a hotel and finish the journey the next day. I was informed the NHS would not stand the bill
4. At 11.00pm I had to call my parents to come and collect me from the train station over 50miles away because I was stranded - they are nearly 70 - fair on them I think not
5. Less that 4 weeks later I was readmitted to hospital with this trip as a significant contributing factor.

Lets check out the cost of that lot to the NHS.

I saved them 21hours at £10/hr but cost them 6weeks in hospital.

I do a similar job to Gerry Robinson ( who worked on the NHS at ROtherham) in terms of managing organisational effectiveness and I find it heart breaking that the NHS are so competent at wasting money on a grand scale.

Should we pay service users? - dunno, I don't charge for my time, I do it for personal satisfaction but from what I have seen people in a commercial environment are expected to deliver alot more for £10/hr than I have ever been asked to deliver as a service user. (bear in mind £10/hr equates to a £21k a year job with no direct accountabilities or responsibilities hummmm onto a winner if you can get it I say)
 
A

Aine

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I'm sitting round the table at a meeting with 40% of profeesionals to our 60% Users. I'm conscious that all the professionals are paid to be here and that I am not. Neither are my Survivor friends.

Being decent, user-friendly professionals, they eventually after many meetings, tell us that they would like to pay us for attending. Cheers! I'm on the pension and could do with some perks.

However my other User friends discuss this after the meeting and decide that no, they don't want pay because it might interfere with their beneifits. Majority decision.

However, I'm really pleased that these professionals at the meeting valued our input enough to offer us pay.
Gertting to the meetings is no problem: lifts are provided - and so is lunch.
Yes, it's good to be valued and in our capitalist consumer society, paying people for their work is THE way to show that you value them.

A pity we turned their kind and considerate offer down - but then I am no longer on means tested benfits.
 
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ramboghettouk

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trouble is when you start paying people they're there for the money rather than any other reason

It's the way proffessionals take advantage of mentally ill people by been in control of the money and therefore been in control of them
 
A

Aine

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I don't think there is any harm in giving people a financial incentive for Users to get involved. Once there, they might even enjoy contributing for its own sake! But if all they find is tokenism, then money might be the only incentive to stay. If there is meaningful invovement, people will WANT to be involved any way!
Also if survivor volunteers have already spent several years of active involvement in a partnership meeting to improve services, they are obviously dedicated and payment would just be an acknowledgement of this
 
M

Michael

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Patient involvement is a must, involvement means that some form of self control can be obtained by the individual.
Payment to attend sessions/meetings or whatever you want to call them does not sound right in itself, every sufferer should get the opportunity to attend where possible, time off work should be able to be scheduled and if appropriate aid to those requiring it should be available.
Any form of meeting that has an impact on me I should have the opportunity to attend, because they are (usually) held during my working day, and I have not the facility to take time off means that something is fundementally flawed.
I have opinions regarding MH, I have personal experience regarding MH, I even have over 25 years of working with people with MH problems (albeit limited)
It is an area that I feel I could give a valid contribution to.
But kept as I am at arms length until retirement comes, it just feels wrong

Michael
 
dunglen

dunglen

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Patient involvement is a must, involvement means that some form of self control can be obtained by the individual.
Payment to attend sessions/meetings or whatever you want to call them does not sound right in itself, every sufferer should get the opportunity to attend where possible, time off work should be able to be scheduled and if appropriate aid to those requiring it should be available.
Any form of meeting that has an impact on me I should have the opportunity to attend, because they are (usually) held during my working day, and I have not the facility to take time off means that something is fundementally flawed.
I have opinions regarding MH, I have personal experience regarding MH, I even have over 25 years of working with people with MH problems (albeit limited)
It is an area that I feel I could give a valid contribution to.
But kept as I am at arms length until retirement comes, it just feels wrong

Michael
involvement never seems to come down to the ordinary individual - i have been off work for about 18 months and have heard nothing about being involved in my local area
- perhaps because i am seen as being ill - i wouldn't have anything valid to add
 
D

Dollit

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I've taken part in UFM several times. Usually I've picked holes in the way the questions are presented but I've done it. I've always been offered travelling expenses and a nominal, non declarable amount of money to "acknowledge in a small way the value of my time" and I have accepted that money. The money or the travelling expenses didn't influence me one way or another. I have also taken part in research and had travelling expenses and nominal sums offered me and taken them.

As to a group of people deciding that they don't want nominal amounts so therefore no one should isn't really democratic. That decision affects the people who fulfill the roles in the future. Perhaps it would be easier and fairer to say that the money is there for those who want to claim.

But if we have a point of view then we should speak out whether or not we get paid.
 
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ramboghettouk

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My experience is when a group speak out and challenge the proffessionals, the group is closed and started again a few months later with more malleuble people

I've given up speaking out at mental health groups run by proffessionals, as one friend said "We've been saying the same things for years and nothing has changed" i feel now there is more freedom giving your view on the net, but a lot of people i know can't use it, some haven't the ability to learn a new thing, some they're education ended with their breakdowns decades ago
 
A

Aine

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Hi there, Dunglen
I am very sorry to hear that there is no User involvement in your area. Being ill is the REASON for being involved in improving the services you are receiving. No one knows better than you and your peers (Other Users) the way the services SHOULD be: you are an expert by experience. You are the expert looking in, while professionals are the experts looking out. Very few profs have your 'insider' experience. It is very valuable and such a pity that profs in your area don't utilize your experience to provide better services. An opportunity missed by them.

Also, in reply to the person who says users shouldn't be paid for meetings, etc. I suggest that Professionals shouldn't be paid for thes meetings either. Then there would be equality. Those who say we shouldn't be paid on principal, would, I suggest, feel that the other (Non Users)members of the meeting should be paid. Also could it be that such people don't accept that users have as much valuable expertise to contribute as professionals???
 
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ramboghettouk

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I remember one of the last meetings i went to, these users were been paid basically to defend services from criticism and knew where the pay packet was coming from.

One guy kept asking the people on stage how much money they were making, and they kept ignoring him and he kept on repeating the question, in the end one of the professionals said "I don't see how thats relevant" i said "It's relevant because you don't understand about poverty, bad housing or benefits"

Personaly i'm not that interested in the services provided, i take it for granted they're awful, i'm more interested in benefit issues and housing issues, as far as my local bin goes, i take meds to avoid it
 
nickh

nickh

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This is a really interesting thread and I admit that I keep changing my mind as I read different people's arguments! So I am (unusually:)) on the fence with this one.

I do think a lot depends on what sort of SUI is being talked about. For instance I am going to be doing some interviewing at a University (for a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology course) - for this kind of thing I definitely think payment should be offered - although of course you don't have to take it, and I won't as it might affect my benefit (and that's not just to do with means-testing). But I do feel I could take a payment for that without it in any way compromising me - I would make the same judgements whether or not I was paid. I have no relationship to the University.

But taking a payment (beyond expenses) from a MHT for instance. Well that I am not so sure about. I know, I know, Dollit you are right - it should be quite possible to be paid a certain token sum and not have it affect your judgement and I am sure it doesn't in your case and many others. But still something niggles me personally about this - a bee in the bonnet perhaps.

:D like I say I can't make up my mind - but I am very much enjoying listening to the debate.

Nick.
 
D

Dollit

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That's why I say that token payments and expenses should be made available to all so that if people want or need the money they can have it. I tend to say yes if it's offered by MIND because that's only every now and then. But when I was with the Shift Speakers Bureau we got something called fixed-fee expenses which, even if declared, weren't counted against benefit and as that is government funded and they come up with that idea I thought that was really good.
 
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