HRH The Prince of Wales announces £450,000 grant for mental health trusts in London

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Mental health trusts in London are to receive large cash windfalls as part of a £450,000 grants programme by The King's Fund to improve the environment for patients and staff.

HRH The Prince of Wales today announced at The King's Fund's Open Day that the 11 Mental Health Trusts in London will each receive £35,000 to enable local nurse-led teams to undertake an environmental improvement project in an area used by patients.

The scheme, Enhancing the Healing Environment, can include projects ranging from refurbishment to the introduction of artworks, minor building works or landscaping. The trusts' teams will also be given a short introductory course, run by The King's Fund, to equip them with the knowledge and skills to undertake the project.

The King's Fund chief executive Rabbi Julia Neuberger said:

'The physical environment in which people with mental health problems receive care is often poor and depressing. Improving wards can benefit both staff morale and people's health.

'We hope these grants will create stunning projects as well as develop a group of staff who can influence future mental health care environments through the skills gained during the development programme.'

HRH The Prince of Wales, President of The King's Fund, also announced further grants to tackle health inequalities within London's older population and to enhance primary care support to dying people and their carers across the capital.

Almost £290,000 will be made available to projects that aim to improve the health and well being of older people in black and ethnic minority communities, those with dementia and those experiencing social exclusion, especially people living in deprived inner city neighbourhoods.

Another £70,000 will be given to a London-wide initiative to improve palliative care for people who are dying. The project aims to help primary care groups and primary care trusts to find out how their palliative care resources can be used more effectively, what role they should play in commissioning services and identify examples of best practise in the capital.

Find out more about the Enhancing the Healing Environment programme

Notes to editors

The grants will be announced by HRH The Prince of Wales at 4pm during the second King's Fund Open Day on 26 March 2002. Journalists are cordially invited to attend. This event is on Royal rotation and there will be a Press Association reporter present. Please make contact through the usual channels for further information.

This is the second phase of the Enhancing the Healing Environment scheme. Last year London's acute hospital trusts each received £35,000 for similar environmental projects.

The King's Fund also publishes three further studies today, one looking at London's public health workforce, one looking at morale and motivation among NHS staff and the other examining the values that lie behind the NHS:

Public Health in the Balance shows that London faces a serious shortage of public health workers and warns that some of the expertise amassed over recent years in health and local authorities may be lost when primary care trusts take up responsibility for public health next week. This may hamper efforts to reduce health inequalities in the capital.

Counting the Smiles urges the Government to act now to boost morale among NHS staff. It shows that morale is low in the NHS, putting at risk the Government's plans to modernise the service. It says the two biggest causes of low morale are chronic staff shortages, which make working conditions difficult, and the strong perception among staff that their work is not valued.

Hidden Assets shows that staff, patients and citizens hold diverse views about the service. It argues that by listening to the views of patients, workers and the public, the NHS can benefit considerably as it changes to meet the demands of the new century. It adds that people should be consulted about the trade-offs between conflicting values, such as choice and equity, that are inherent in the NHS.

For more details about Enhancing the Healing Environment, other King's Fund grants or the Open Day, please contact Daniel Reynolds on 020 7307 2581 or 07831 55492.