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Mark Drakeford, Minister for Health and Social Services

First published:
17 December 2015
Last updated:

This was published under the 2011 to 2016 administration of the Welsh Government

The Mental Health (Wales) Measure 2010 (the measure) is a unique piece of legislation designed to provide a legal framework to improve mental health services in Wales. Implementation of the services required by the measure began, on a phased basis, in January 2012.

Section 48 of the measure places a duty on the Welsh Ministers to review specific sections of the measure. The Duty to Review Inception Report was produced in 2013 which described the process proposed to fulfil that function and comment more broadly upon the progress of implementation. The Duty to Review Interim Report was published in April 2014 which noted the findings up to that date. Today I am publishing the Duty to Review Final Report which, in addition to providing an overarching evaluation of the measure, also fulfils the requirements of section 48.

This statement sets out how we have evaluated the measure, and some of the main findings and recommendations contained in the Duty to Review Final Report, along with the steps Welsh Government will be taking in response.

Embedding legal requirements into service provision and ensuring the vision underpinning it becomes a reality requires not only training and monitoring but leadership and a commitment to change. There is evidence of this commitment in every area in Wales. Creating services which promote empowerment and choice, as well as supporting recovery and maximising independence, are essential to the future provision of mental health services in Wales. Recurrent funding of £5m per year is provided to health boards within the mental health ring fence to support the ongoing implementation of the measure.

The final review has drawn on information from a wide variety of sources including:

  • task and finish groups convened from a range of stakeholders to consider specific issues
  • independent commissioned research
  • service user and general practitioner satisfaction surveys
  • third sector surveys and comment
  • compliance with the legal requirements of the Measure
  • quantitative performance measures
  • the Health and Social Care Committee’s post legislative scrutiny of the measure recommendations

This approach has enabled us to have a rounded understanding of the impact of the measure and be able to make recommendations that will ensure practice continues to improve.

Whilst, as with any change in both process and practice, time is required to fully realise improved outcomes, the Health and Social Care Committee’s post legislative scrutiny of the measure held a year ago, recognised that; ‘…mental health services in Wales have improved as a result [of the measure]. Access to primary mental health assessment is easier, more people in receipt of secondary mental health services have care and treatment plans, and more people are able to access independent mental health advocacy.’

The Duty to Review Final Report supports the Health and Social Care Committee’s findings that the measure has improved services, but additionally that it has been value for money, and that improvements are continuing.

The main findings can be found in the report itself, but of particular note are the levels of satisfaction expressed by the vast majority of those who have received services under the measure - this includes primary and secondary care, as well as the services provided by Independent Mental Health Advocates.

Importantly, we have also listened to those service users, carers and practitioners who have not had such positive experiences, and these have shaped the recommendations in the report.

As a result of the review, Welsh Government will be introducing several legislative changes, including enabling a wider range of appropriately-qualified staff to undertake both local primary mental health assessments and the care co-ordination role. We will also develop further guidance to help statutory bodies fulfil their functions under the measure, and we will expect those providing services to report on outcomes for service users and publish their findings. We will also continue to publish, and be transparent about, compliance with targets for improving access to services.

By taking these steps, Welsh Government is confident that we will both further improve the effectiveness of the services delivered under the measure, and ensure we are better able to demonstrate the outcomes that services are delivering for those that make use of them.

This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep members informed. Should members wish me to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Assembly returns I would be happy to do so.