Outcomes of mental health services in Wales are unclear despite 11% of the Welsh NHS budget being spent on those services, according to a new report from Plaid Cymru.
The report, A check-up on mental health, compares Welsh NHS mental health services with those in a range of other countries including the Netherlands, Sweden, and elsewhere in the British Isles.
The research found that although £750 million is spent every year on mental health services in Wales, it’s impossible to measure the success of that spending beyond anecdotal evidence because of the lack of national research.
Also highlighted in the report is the fact that Wales has fewer mental health inpatient beds compared with other countries, a comparatively smaller specialist workforce, as well as a warning of the impact of the ‘missing middle’ in child and adolescent mental healthcare.
Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Health and Social Services Minister Helen Mary Jones AM said:
“In the run-up to forming the next Welsh Government in May 2021, Plaid Cymru is taking mental health services seriously. We recognise the need to improve outcomes for those using services in Wales.
“Wales spends substantial amounts of money on mental health services – around £750m per year. That’s 11% of our NHS and 5% of the total Welsh Government Budget.
“However, although Wales has a comparatively high expenditure on mental health, we just don’t have the outcome measures to evidence success, especially in the face of growing awareness of mental health problems.
“In fact, the anecdotal evidence we have from constituents, as well as a number of reports including from the Senedd’s Children, Young People and Education Committee and Health Committee, suggest that people’s experience of mental health services isn’t as good as it should be.
“This report raises serious issues about the capacity of the Welsh NHS to deal with the challenges of increased pressure on mental health services and to put service users at the centre of their own treatment.”