Hafal Chief Executive Bill Walden-Jones has urged law-makers to ensure that the Proposed Mental Health (Wales) Measure “must set out and clearly prescribe a modern, progressive, holistic care plan.”
The Measure, which will give new law-making powers on mental health to Wales, is nearing its final stages through plenary and is expected to receive Royal Approval in December.
However, speaking at the launch of two Hafal developments to celebrate World Mental Health Day (“12 Lives” and a Big Lottery-funded Young People’s Information Hub) Mr Walden-Jones warned a Senedd audience that failure to legislate for a proper care plan in the Measure’s regulations would seriously weaken its powers, use and impact.
Mr Walden-Jones said: “There’s a big debate going on behind closed doors at the moment about important content of the Measure and its regulations. The big battle we have to win is to ensure that the core of the Measure – the legal right to a care plan for people with a serious mental illness – is for real, that it is holistic, that it’s focused on recovery.
“We don’t want one of those old fashioned care plans which says something like: ‘What are the outcomes we’re looking for? To reduce the symptoms. What are we going to do about it? We’re going to give you this much medication.’ That’s what a lot of care plans say at the moment.
“It’s not much use having a right to one of those. There’s a risk of that happening if the Measure’s regulations do not set out, prescribe and insist that all the important life areas are covered: not just considered, not just referenced to, they must be covered in every case in a modern, progressive, holistic care plan.
“If the Measure’s regulations don’t cover this, the Measure won’t be worth 20% of what it could be. If we have a right to any old care plan then it will be any old mental health service going forward.
“However, if we do get a proper care plan we could have a transforming Measure which will put Wales ahead of other countries in the United Kingdom and beyond; we will have something unique across the world.
“We’ve got to win this battle!”