One of the biggest successes for the Patients’ Council/MHAG was the restoration of full benefits for those patients on inpatient wards. They had been receiving a lower rate of benefit for many years, which failed to recognise that they still had bills to pay, clothes to buy. This caused problems of debt and anxiety, and became apparent when many patients were walking about with tattered clothes held up by string etc.
Our service users mounted their first big campaign aimed at restoring full benefits. This campaign took three years and led to the door of the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown. He clearly recognised that this was an inequity, and gave patients their full benefit entitlement. It was this campaign that gave the group the impetus to re-launch as MHAG in 2006, and concentrate on campaign work in future.