Funding boost will improve GP support for people with mental illness

An extra £100,000 a year from the Welsh Assembly Government will be made available to improve support for GPs providing care for people experiencing mental illness.

More than 95 per cent of people living with a mental illness receive care and support from primary care teams.

This funding, for the Wales Alliance for Mental Health in Primary Care (WaMH in PC), aims to develop and enhance the delivery of mental health services for patients by sharing best practice and encouraging health professionals to share ideas and develop new ways of working.

Health Minister Edwina Hart AM said: “Improving the care and support for people living with mental health conditions is one of my key priorities. There is a great deal of good work under way across Wales in helping to improve the lives of people with mental health problems and I want to see this replicated.

“This extra funding for WaMH in PC will help to spread good practice and allow health professionals to share ideas to ultimately improve care for their patients.

“Primary care teams encourage people to be involved in the development of the support they receive – this is important in giving people confidence and helping them manage their condition more effectively.

“Taking on board views of patients is also important in continually developing and improving services.

“The One Wales document sets out a commitment to seeking further powers in mental health – particularly in relation to assessment and treatment and in terms of providing early intervention to avoid people’s mental health deteriorating as well as making advocacy available for more patients who need someone to speak on their behalf.”

WaMH in PC was established by the Royal College of General Practitioners in 2003 to enable those with an interest in primary care mental health to share ideas.

The network’s ‘think tank’ includes doctors, mental health nurses, and representatives of groups that include the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy and Hafal, the principal Welsh charity for those with a severe mental illness and their carers.

Earlier this year, WaMH in PC published ‘Defining a Vision, Inspiring Action’, its Declaration for Mental Health and Well-being, which called for the development of a Wales-wide Gold Standard for Primary Care in mental health.

John Abbott, Campaigns Manager at Hafal, said: “As founder members of WaMH representing the needs and views of both carers and people with severe mental illness we welcome this announcement and continue to ensure that the views of users and carers are strongly represented on the network to ensure the future Gold Standard for primary care mental health takes proper account of all mental health users’ and carers’ views.”

* To visit the WaMH in PC website, click here.