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A new plan to improve NHS mental health services in Wales

Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) and Social Care Wales (SCW) are acting now to develop a workforce that can respond to the demand on mental health services in the future.

The Strategic Mental Health Workforce Plan for health and social care is the first of its kind in Wales. It recognises a wide range of staff, carers and volunteers engage with people experiencing mental health problems, as well as specialist mental health workers.

This ambitious plan aims to develop skills and capacity across health and social care to increase support for those in need. It looks to improve prevention and early intervention services, as well as addressing challenges and pressures on services for people with severe mental health needs.

It is intended to impact on key areas including quality and access to services, sustainability of services, and the health and wellbeing of staff.  

On launching the plan, Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing Lynne Neagle, said:

“The development of a long-term plan for the mental health workforce is a key action in our Together for Mental Health Delivery Plan, to support service improvements and ensure a stable and sustainable mental health workforce.

“We have a highly-skilled mental health workforce in Wales. I welcome the launch of the plan, which will support service improvements and help co-ordinate actions across organisations and across Wales. Implementation of the plan will also ensure staff feel supported and have the opportunity to further develop their careers.”

Alex Howells, HEIW’s CEO added, “Mental health is such a critical priority, and developing the workforce is the best way to ensure that people get the best possible care. We hope that this plan really puts the mental health workforce on the map and generates positive momentum for change.”

Sue Evans, Chief Executive of SCW said, “We listened to those who work in mental health services and those that receive support and service from the workforce, to help us clearly understand what is important to them. This plan is a reflection of that engagement, and it will help bring about the change required and improve the way we support, value and develop our workforce”.

A copy of the plan can be found on HEIW’s website.