vices in terms of the amount of funding they receive compared with other service areas. The quality of life of the many thousands of people with long-term mental health difficulties living in the community continues to be a major cause for concern.
This chapter has also highlighted many of the continuing concerns over the legal rights of mental patients, and in particular the plight of those people with mental health needs incarcerated in prisons. Fortunately, this matter is now receiving the attention of the government, and new initiatives are being developed to divert people with mental health difficulties away from the courts.
This chapter has also given attention to people with learning difficulties. In some respects this area of service provision is no longer subsumed under mental health in the United Kingdom. Learning difficulties are now largely regarded as social and educational concerns with only marginal medical involvement. A major problem remains, though, the adequacy of provision, especially all the backup care that carers require if they are to support a person with learning difficulties in their own home.
In conclusion, the mental health services in the United Kingdom are still very uneven in terms of their quality and quantity. Indeed, they contain many contradictions and conflicts over their provision. Given the purpose for which they exist, this is neither surprising nor undesirable.
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