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06th December 2013

Strengthening Mental Health Care in Wales

StrengtheningMentalHealthcareinWalesChanges to care planning

Care providers in Wales should be aware of statutory developments in the care and support for people with mental health problems. Most of the major mental health legislation is the same in England and Wales but The Mental Health (Wales) Measure 2010 introduced a number of improvements to the support available for people with mental health problems in Wales. The measure continued four key areas:

  • Making more mental health services available from GP surgeries
  • Allowing people discharged from specialist services to refer themselves back into those services
  • Getting advocacy services for in-patients (and you can find guidance on these in the QCS policy on Advocacy Services.)
  • Making sure everyone in the care of mental health services has got a care and treatment plan, and this is what I want to discuss in this blog.

This last measure is important for care and support staff who will need to think about training implications. This part of the law only came into operation in the summer of 2012.

What the law says is people in the care of mental health services should have a written plan developed by a care co-ordinator, that the plan should describe expected outcomes, and how those are achieved, and that the plan is reviewed on a regular basis.

Why is this law different?

Now that all sounds just like good practice and the kind of plan that should be drawn up under the Care Programme Approach (CPA). There’s one crucial difference. The CPA was only ever a policy. The Welsh care plan framework is law. One of the criticisms of the CPA is that its implementation has been patchy, it has been subject to a number of changes, and in the most recent review, focused on those only in the severest need. This new law makes it clear it’s relevant to all receiving what’s called ‘secondary’ care – essentially that means care by mental health teams or hospitals. The law says that care plans should incorporate up-to-date thinking about what contributes to mental health and well-being such as spiritual aspects of the person’s life, support with relationships and promoting physical well-being.

Making care planning work

For care planning like this to work effectively, it requires involvement of everyone concerned with the persons care and support, not just the mental health professionals. If you want to get more information for your service there are a couple of easily downloadable training packs on offer. Hafal, who work with people with severe mental illness and their families in Wales, have produced a training pack aimed mainly at service users and carers called : ‘How to get a great Care and Treatment Plan’. The Welsh government have produced training materials aimed primarily at mental health professionals and these can be found HERE.

The QCS Welsh Social Care Management System has been designed to meet the policy and legal requirements of providers of social care to people with mental health problems in Wales.  Effective care planning is a key part of those requirements.

David Beckingham – QCS Expert Mental Health Contributor

Topics: Mental Health


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