Health and Social Services Minster Edwina Hart AM has reaffirmed that improving mental health services in Wales remains a key priority for the Welsh Assembly Government.
The Minister made the commitment during the Annual Mental Health and Learning Disability Nursing Awards for Wales which took place this week and celebrates the hard work and dedication of mental health and learning disability nurses from across Wales.
Presenting the awards at the All Nations Centre in Cardiff, Ms. Hart said: “So often the hard work of mental health and learning disability nurses is overlooked. Nurses in Wales have a fundamental role to play in our health and social services.
“These awards provide a chance to showcase the excellent work that nurses are undertaking in Wales, and to publicly recognise and reward their considerable achievements.
“Since 2005, the number of nurses in Wales has increased. Today, nurses and midwives account for 44 per cent of the total Welsh NHS workforce. As a Government, we remain committed to investing over 40 per cent of the total Welsh budget on health and social services, despite the cuts to our budget by the UK Government.”
Mental health accounts for the largest single area of NHS expenditure. Ring-fenced funding has increased year on year from £387.5 million in 2008/9 to £588 million in 2010/11 – which the Minister says demonstrates the Welsh Assembly Government’s commitment to improving services for patients and staff.
The Minister added: “With about one in six adults in Wales suffering from a significant mental health problem at any point in time, improving mental health services in Wales remains a key priority for the Welsh Assembly Government.
“As well as introducing important legislative changes that will enable us to improve mental health services across Wales, we have also launched a national action plan to reduce suicide and prevent self harm, and have made considerable progress to address the needs of people with eating disorders.
“We are also working to improve children’s mental health services, services for people suffering with dementia, as well as rolling out a dedicated Mental Health & Well-Being Service for service veterans across Wales.
“In addition, we have made significant investment in the provision of new mental health facilities in recent years, including £41m for two new Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) – one for North Wales in Abergele (£15m) and one for South Wales in Bridgend (£26m); a new £25m Adult Acute and Elderly and Mental Infirm (EMI) unit at Wrexham Maelor; a £29m investment to develop acute and community facilities to replace Glanrhyd Hospital in Bridgend; and a new £56m EMI Unit for Cardiff and Vale located at Llandough.”