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This conference discussed next steps for mental health provision in Wales.
It was a timely opportunity for stakeholders and policymakers to examine the new mental health strategy, which was expected shortly from the Welsh Government following the end of the Together for Mental Health Delivery Plan in 2022.
Delegates discussed priorities for policy and the new strategy moving forward, its implementation, lessons learned from the previous delivery plan, opportunities and challenges for improving service delivery, and key areas for further investment.
Further sessions looked at how increased demand for treatment can be met, including progressing the development and use of innovation and digital solutions in mental health care, such as online therapies.
Those attending also discussed prevention strategies and tackling the wider causes of mental health issues, including the impact of the pandemic and challenges brought on by the rising cost of living.
We are pleased to have been able to include keynote sessions with: Ciara Rogers, National Director, Mental Health, NHS Wales; Sam Hall, Director of Primary, Community Care and Mental Health Digital Services, Digital Health and Care Wales; and John Powell, Head of Mental Health, Clinical Advice, Healthcare Inspectorate Wales.
Overall, areas for discussion included:
- policy: assessing government strategy - stakeholder priorities moving forward from Together for Mental Health - lessons learned - targets for improved service delivery - investment priorities
- regulation: next steps for inspection and maintaining the quality of mental health services - support for implementation of the new delivery strategy, including updated guidance for professionals
- workforce: progressing recruitment initiatives - priorities for retention - managing increased demand and pressures in the system - improving support services
- accessibility: the role of NHS 111 and mental health hubs - tackling accessibility barriers to care - addressing waiting times for treatment amidst increasing demand for mental health provision
- vulnerable groups: ensuring provision is available for at-risk and underrepresented groups - assessing the current support for children in schools and safeguarding practices for at-risk children
The conference was an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside key policy officials who attended from the Department of Health, NI; DWP; HIW; HMI Prisons; HMPPS; Home Office; MOJ; NRW; UK Statistics Authority; the YJB; and the Welsh Government.