Psychological Services in North Wales “failing in many areas”

Clwyd West AM Darren Millar has expressed concern at the findings of an independent review of psychological therapies in Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board which describe a service that is failing in many areas.

The review undertaken by the TogetherBetter Collaborative Consultancy, outlines a number of shortcomings including; ‘unacceptably long waits in some areas, in part associated with pathway design which is under-resourced and not fit for purpose’, ‘ a lack of strategic and integrated workforce development, ‘an enormous data deficit, leaving intelligence-driven decision-making wanting’ and  ‘a sense of despondency and, in some places, learned helplessness as to how the organisation might work itself into a better place’.

Darren has described the findings “alarming” and has written to the Health Minister, Vaughan Gething AM, to highlight his concerns.

He said:

“This report is alarming. Its findings are totally at odds with public statements we have heard from Ministers and senior leaders at the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board.

“As an NHS organisation which has been in special measures due to serious problems in its mental health services for almost five years,  it is deeply troubling that there are still significant failings in psychological therapy services in North Wales.

“The lack of improvement in mental health services presents significant cause for concern and calls into question the ability of the current leadership at the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and the ongoing special measures arrangements to deliver the service improvements which the public deserve.

“What is all the more troubling is that I cannot find any evidence that the report has been shared either on the Health Board’s website or with the Chair and Independent Members on the Board. In fact, recent Board papers present a wholly different picture of mental health services in the region with a glowing report on progress to date.

“This suggests a total lack of self-awareness by a Board which is in denial about the challenges it faces.”