12-weeks to agree new shape of South Wales child mental health services

Three months of consultation have just begun on an ambitious plan to improve local access to mental health services for young people in South Wales.

The centrepiece of the plan is a new, purpose-built unit for children and adolescents with mental health problems that would be built at the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend.

This unit would offer services 24-hours a day, 7-days a week and would consist of:
• A 14-bed planned treatments ward
• A five-bed emergency and high-dependency ward

There will now be a 12-week consultation period and, if the plan is agreed, the unit is expected to be open and fully functional by the autumn of 2009.

The plan includes the closure of the outdated Harvey Jones Adolescent Centre in Cardiff and transfer of its services to Glanrhyd Hospital, Bridgend in the winter of 2007.

Simon Dean of Health Commission Wales, said: “The new unit will enable patients that need highly specialised care to be treated and supported as close to home as possible, close to their family and friends.

“Along with our proposals for new child and adolescent facilities in North Wales at Abergele, this will greatly improve access and provide the help and support that younger people need.”

The unveiling of the plan for South Wales comes as children’s charity NCH publishes research suggesting that one in ten young people suffer from significant mental health problems.

NCH says it findings show that the prevalence of emotional problems and conduct disorders had doubled since the 1990s, citing studies of 8,000 children.

You can see and discuss the plans as part of the 12-week consultation at a public meeting at City Hall, Cardiff on Wednesday, July 4 at 7pm.

To see the full document setting out the proposals for improving child and adolescent mental health services in South Wales, click here.