Hafal to give evidence on Proposed Mental Health (Wales) Measure

Welsh mental health charity Hafal will give evidence on the Proposed Mental Health (Wales) Measure to the National Assembly for Wales’ Legislation Committee No. 3 on Thursday April 22nd 2010.

The Proposed Measure, which has been described as a “historic moment for service users in Wales”, will place duties on Local Health Boards and local authorities in Wales in relation to assessment of mental health and treatment of mental disorder, and in relation to independent mental health advocacy for qualifying patients.

Hafal generally welcomes the Measure as it offers the prospect of positive change for people with a serious mental illness in Wales. However, Hafal has a number of suggestions for amendments and additions.

The charity’s two main concerns are as follows:

• The Measure is missing a vital element namely a legally enforceable time limit from referral by a GP for assessment for secondary mental health services to that assessment being carried out; further, a legally-enforceable time limit from recognition as a “relevant patient” (receiving secondary mental health services) to the completion of the required Care Plan.

• Successful implementation of the Measure requires major investment in secondary mental health services. Costings for the Measure are largely confined to the primary care and advocacy elements: this is explained in as much as the costs quoted are direct consequences of implementing the Measure. However, there are major indirect costs of effective delivery of the care plans prescribed by the Measure for users of secondary mental health services: this investment is in fact of higher priority than the direct investment in the primary care and advocacy elements of the Measure and we would urge the Assembly Government to make the required commitment of resources.

Hafal’s evidence will be given by Practice Leader (Training) Sue Barnes and Recovery Practitioner Lee McCabe. Sue has experienced serious mental illness and has worked with Hafal delivering services to clients and more recently teaching social workers in Hafal’s Learning Centre. Sue is a qualified Social Work Practice Teacher and was previously a senior practitioner in Child and Adolescent Social Services.

Lee also has experience of serious mental illness. He works at Hafal Merthyr Tydfil and has an impressive record of delivering evidence on the legislative process to both Parliament and the Assembly: Jonathan Morgan AM said of his Legislative Competence Order (which brought the power to legislate on mental health from Westminster to Cardiff): “For me, the most compelling piece of evidence for why reform is so long overdue came from a service user from Hafal, Lee McCabe”.

To read Hafal’s full and detailed response to the Proposed Mental Health (Wales) Measure please visit: http://www.hafal.org/pdf/consultation_on_mh_measure_-_Hafal_evidence.pdf

Hafal’s evidence to Legislation Committee No. 3 will be broadcast on Senedd TV on Thursday morning from 9.30am. For more details please visit: http://www.senedd.tv/index.jsf

For more information on the Measure including latest news, its record of passage in the National Assembly for Wales and related documents please visit: http://www.assemblywales.org/bus-home/bus-legislation/bus-leg-measures/business-legislation-measures-mhs-2.htm