Exclusive! Carwyn Jones talks to Mental Health Wales

First Minister Carwyn Jones has outlined his vision for mental health services in Wales.

In an exclusive interview in the new edition of the Mental Health Wales Journal Mr Jones speaks on a wide-range of mental health matters including: his personal and professional experience of mental health; the Proposed Mental Health (Wales) Measure; choice for service users; forthcoming spending cuts; the National Service Framework; and his working relationship with Health and Social Services Minister Edwina Hart AM.

Key extracts from the interview include:

On the Proposed Mental Health (Wales) Measure: “It gives us a great opportunity to get the structure right; there are tremendous opportunities for creating a mental health service in Wales that will be the envy of many countries in Europe.”

On when mental health will get the same level of services that those with physical problems receive. “I think the next decade, I think we can plan for that. It will be tough given the spending background we have but the way is clear now, because of the way the public perceive mental health services, for them to be more flexible and accessible in the future.”

On the issue of choice, of the patient being the consumer: “I don’t think choice is important, I think it’s important that people have a voice. What’s important is to get it right through listening to service users rather than trying to create a choice agenda where, in many areas, that choice is never going to be there.”

On spending cuts: “In terms of mental health that amount of detail [in the budget] hasn’t been gone into yet but I think it’s fair to say that most members of the public would generally look at education and health as areas a Government should protect.”

On whether the example of Whitchurch Hospital is a taste of things to come when it comes to cuts (in March it was announced that plans to replace one of Wales’ oldest mental hospitals with a new £80 million development had been abandoned): “No, this was a particular case in itself. I have to say, though, that it’s going to be very difficult in the next financial year and the years beyond that but we’re looking to protect the areas we regard as priorities.”

To read the interview in full please visit: https://www.mentalhealthwales.net/mhw/journal.php