Wales to refocus on service improvement

Mental health campaigners in Wales hope the government’s decision to drop the Mental Health Bill will enable the Welsh assembly government to concentrate on fully implementing its own reforms.

The Wales Alliance for Mental Health had campaigned against the introduction of the bill in the country because it said services were not up to English standards. It claimed a shortage of psychiatrists and approved social workers meant the system would not be able to cope with the extra demands placed on it.

Campaigners were also worried the work involved in implementing the draft bill would have diverted resources from fully introducing Wales’s Mental Health National Service Framework.

Bill Walden-Jones, chief executive of mental health charity Hafal, said: “Over the last few months assembly officials have been forced to use their energies to identify the considerable  resources that would have been required to implement this bill – dragging all attention from improving services.”

The draft bill’s emphasis on compulsion also contradicted efforts in Wales to deliver more services in the community, said Ruth Coombs, policy manager at Mind Cymru.

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