Mental health services in North Wales come under fire|
CARDIFF, Wales: Mental health services in North Wales came under fire from politicians on March 23.
A powerful MPs' committee branded services across the region "patchy" and "significantly less developed" than those in England. They said improving mental health needed to be treated as a priority by the Welsh Assembly.
The MPs made their comments in a report examining the government's draft mental health Bill, which would allow the detention of people with personality disorders.
The commtitee - including members of the Houses of Commons and Lords in Westminster - gathered evidence during a visit to Cardiff in December 2004. They met the then Welsh Health Minister, Jane Hutt, and the Assembly's health and social servcies committee.
Its report concluded that it was "very unlikely that Wales could successfully implement the provision of the Bill with the resources currently available."
One witness from the mental health charity, Hafal, said that "large proportions" of Ceredigion, Powys and Gwynedd were not adequately served. The charity said that mental illness was increasing in the farming comminity but had very little care provision.
The committee chairman, Lord Carlile, said: "This is an important reminder to the government that the Bill is fundamentally flawed. It is too heavily focused on compulsion, and currently there are neither the financial measures nor the workforce to implement it. Far too many people could be forced into treatment unnecessarily,
"They can be detained even though the treatment they receive does not help their condition.
And they can be detained compulsority even if they are perfectly capable of making their own decisions."
The committee recommended that the draft Blll should be given a major overhaul before it was put to the vote.
A Plaid Cymru Caernarfon MP, Hywel Williams, a committee member, said: "This report is a damning indictment of new Labour's record in health in Wales."
(Source: Daily Post, March 24, 2005)