Opposition party calls for Welsh Government to rethink emergency help provision for mental health problems

Welsh Conservatives will this afternoon challenge the Welsh Parliament to debate the quality of care on offer for those suffering from mental health problems.

Working alongside national charity Mind, Darren Millar AM will ask the chamber to consider providing 24hour crisis care from specialist teams in A&E departments across Wales, as well as boosting the support provided in local communities.

The debate aims to highlight February’s Healthcare Inspectorate Wales and Care Inspectorate Wales’ Joint Thematic Review of Community Mental Health Teams (CMHT), which highlighted a dangerous postcode lottery of care access across Wales, and made 23 recommendations to improve the standard of help on offer.

The damning report is yet to be fully addressed by the Welsh Government.

In Wales, between 300 and 350 people take their own life every year, a large number of whom are young men. One in four people will experience a mental health problem over the course of a year, but only one in nine people will receive treatment for it.

CMHTs form an essential part of mental health care in Wales. The statutory service helps those aged 18 to 65 experiencing serious or enduring mental health problems.

The debate will urge the Welsh Labour Government to sit up and take notice of the review’s recommendations, which include findings that showed working environments within most CMHTs need improvement and “some clinical areas are not fit for purpose”. The report also shone a light on record-keeping errors which it calls upon to be addressed to make the service “safer” for users.

 

Commenting ahead of the debate, Clwyd West AM Darren Millar, said:

“With one in four of us expected to experience a mental health problem it is vital that we do what we can to ensure that services to support them are easily accessible and available around the clock.

“We have seen demands for mental health services increasing in recent years but the capacity of services as not grown to meet this extra demand. Community Mental Health Teams have seen referrals up by 18% but they are struggling to cope and people aren’t always getting the support they need.

“Embedding 24/7 crisis teams into our major emergency departments will give people the confidence that appropriate support is available for them when they need it.

“I urge the Welsh Government to take this proposal forward along with other recommendations made in February’s report.”

He added:

“I thank both Mind Cymru and the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy for backing our calls, and for the invaluable work they and other similar charities undertake across Wales.”