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Delivering the Strategy


When the Welsh Government launched its new mental health strategy "Together for Mental Health - A Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy for Wales" in October 2012, alongside it was also published a Delivery Plan: 2012-16.

The Strategy sets out the strategic context for mental health in Wales for the next 10 years (2012 to 2022) and we look at it in detail on a separate page. The Delivery Plan (2012 to 2016) is just for the initial 3 years of this 10 year period, suggesting that implementation of the Strategy will be reviewed throughout its 10 years and there will be further Delivery Plans, although this is nowhere explicitly stated.


Together for Mental Health replaces both the 2001 Strategy for Adult Mental Health Services and the 2005 Mental Health National Service Framework (NSF). The Delivery Plan has both some similarities with and important differences from the previous NSF, and comparing the two documents helps to illustrate what the Delivery Plan is and what it is not.

•    Timescales: The previous NSF set out service improvements over a lengthy 8 year period from 2005 through to 2013, with targets linked to specific years. The Delivery Plan is more limited in scale, with a "shelf life" of just 3 years.

•    Scope: In terms of scope, the Delivery Plan is more ambitious. The NSF was for adult mental health services only, while the Delivery Plan covers mental health services for all ages - children, adults of working age and older people. Another important difference is that whereas the NSF was primarily (although not exclusively) a document for health and social care mental health services, the Delivery Plan seeks to set an agenda that takes mental health well beyond health and social care services and makes it part of a much wider government agenda.

•    Language: The NSF used the language of its time and was very much about "standards", "key actions" and "targets". It had 8 Standards, with 44 Key Actions, each with clear Performance Targets. The Delivery Plan focuses instead on "Outcomes". It has 18 in total, and against each of these 18 outcomes there are:

- "Key Actions"  with between 1 and 11 for each Outcome and some 57 in all

- "Planning and Commissioning" responsibilities to implement the Key Actions

- "Improvement Approach" and "Training and Development" explanations as to how the Key Actions will be delivered

- and "How will we know?" performance indicators to measure progress.

•    Content and Issues: In the NSF the standards, key actions and targets together set out a clear vision as to what a local adult mental service should be and what service components it should include. The Delivery Plan does not include this level of detail, but instead sets out actions and outcomes way beyond mental health services and covers wide areas of government activity and walks of life for all age groups. On the positive side it recognises that improving the country's mental health is a very wide agenda. More negatively such a comprehensive approach creates its own complexities, and the scope of the Delivery Plan is so wide it is difficult to identify any coherent plan. So it is not an accessible document, and anyone wanting to see what plans there are for a specific mental health issue will have difficulty finding the information they are seeking.


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