In the early nineteen-sixties Professor Martin had been involved in the study of some of the pioneering developments in community-oriented mental health services, the results of which were published in Patterns of Performance in Community Care (OUP, 1968). He was invited as a member of the group to assess the changes that had actually taken place and, to the extent that there was indeed a discrepancy between early hopes and subsequent achievement, to consider what the underlying factors may have been.
The book thus summarizes the main trends in hospital and community services for mentally ill people during the period between the Mental Health Act 1959 and the Amendment Acts of 1982/83, and takes account of major official documents, administrative changes and some influential shifts in ideas. It also seeks to evaluate the roles of the key professions of social work, psychiatric and general practice, as well as the work of some of the major voluntary organizations involved in mental health services.
The book concentrates on provision for mentally ill and emotionally disturbed people, and does not deal with the rather different history of services for the mentally handicapped. The final chapter speculates about the causes of the observed shortcomings, reviews some recent proposals for remedying the defects, and asks what effects the newest trends in the management of the National Health Service are likely to have on the growth of community services for mental illness.
Martin FM (1984) Between the acts: Community mental health services 1959-1983. Nuffield Trust.