Hafal calls on Health Minister to guarantee the safety of its client group during Covid-19 outbreak

Hafal Chair Mair Elliott has today written to the Minister for Health and Social Services Vaughan Gething asking him to protect people in Wales with a serious mental illness and their carers during the Covid-19 crisis.

In an open letter to the Minister Mair writes: “As Chair of mental health charity Hafal I am writing to you urgently to express my grave concerns about the safety of the most vulnerable mental health patients and their carers and families in Wales during the coronavirus outbreak and to seek your assurance that their safety will not be compromised.

“We are witnessing the almost complete disappearance of CMHT support and access to clozapine clinics for our clients, early discharge from inpatient units, and closure of inpatient units with major reconfiguration of services seemingly focused on dementia beds.

“We need a guarantee that services will keep patients and their families and carers safe in these difficult times.”

An article published earlier this week on the University College of London Institute of Mental Health website captures the current challenges facing people affected by serious mental illness, stating: “In this national emergency, it seems clear that those with the most severe and complex mental health needs are going to be at significantly higher risk of negative outcomes… We need to act now to prevent a catastrophic failure in care for those in our society with the highest vulnerability.”

In her open letter, Mair appeals to the Minister to meet these challenges, pointing out that “all lives are of equal value: protecting people with a serious mental illness from harm is on a par with protecting people from coronavirus.”

Mair ends the letter by asking the Minister for “a speedy response” setting out how services will protect people with a serious mental illness.

Download Mair’s letter: https://www.hafal.org/letter-to-the-health-minister-02-04/