Clwyd West MS Darren Millar has challenged both the First Minister and the Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Well-being this week over the poor service being provided by Colwyn Bay’s Nant y Glyn Mental Health Centre.
Questioning the First Minister in the Welsh Parliament on Tuesday, Darren said he has received a number of complaints from people who are experiencing difficulties accessing support from the centre.
The following day he told the Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Well-being, Lynne Neale MS, that “Patients are simply not getting the service that they need, and that is resulting in some of them having much worse mental health than would have been the case otherwise”.
Asking the First Minister what assessment he has made of the quality of mental health services in Conwy and Denbighshire, Darren said:
“Mental health services in North Wales are currently in Special Measures due to failings, and we know that they've been in Special Measures and the subject of intervention since 2015. But I regret to inform you that I still get reports of persistent problems in services, particularly in terms of community mental health services,
“I'm frequently being contacted by constituents, and other organisations working to support people with mental health problems, who tell me that they're having difficulties in accessing support from the Community Mental Health Service at Colwyn Bay's Nant y Glyn Mental Health Centre.
“Patients who contact the centre are fobbed off, they're promised callbacks that they don't receive, and even court orders to provide support to patients are being ignored.
“I know that Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW) has raised concerns about access to community mental health support at the centre; I've also raised concerns with the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board. But I'm afraid there's no evidence whatsoever of any improvement. If anything, things appear to be getting worse.
“So, can I ask you, First Minister, what action is the Welsh Government taking to ensure that patients in my constituency can get access to those vital community mental health services that they need, so that their health is not getting worse, and that they don't come to harm?”
In his response, the First Minister said HIW recently carried out an inspection of the service “because of the number of concerns that had been raised with them”. and said they would await the outcome of the report.
However, questioning the Deputy Minister over the matter the following day, Darren expressed concern over the inspection regime.
“Patients are simply not getting the service that they need, and that is resulting in some of them having much worse mental health than would have been the case otherwise. I know that Healthcare Inspectorate Wales has previously raised concerns about access for patients to services provided by Nant y Glyn and that an announced inspection took place recently.
“However, I am concerned that the inspection regime is insufficient. It does not always include patient experiences or reaching out to patients who have made their experiences known to elected representatives like me. I would therefore urge the Welsh Government to encourage HIW to look at its inspection framework to ensure that engagement with elected representatives and patients is paramount in terms of one of the pillars of their inspection regime in the future, including on the Nant y Glyn experiences that my constituents have been experiencing.”
The Deputy Minister said she would make enquiries as to whether there was feedback sought from service users, and assured Darren that she would “look at it (the report) and make sure that everything that needs to be followed up is followed up”.