I welcome the news that people in Wales with mental health problems will now be able to access treatment more swiftly. This follows the announcement from Health Minister Mark Drakeford AM that the waiting time target for mental health treatment in Wales will now be halved from 56 days to 28 days.
Supporting the growing number of mental health patients in Wales represents one of the most important issues facing our generation, and this week’s announcement is further evidence that the Welsh Government is preparing to meet the challenge. We can be proud that mental health funding in Wales has been ring-fenced over the last seven years, and the budget for mental health services in Wales has risen to £587 million in 2015-16 – an increase of £200 million since 2009-10.
We need to continue to develop and support mental health services in Wales, including child and adolescent services, for which there has been a dramatic increase in referrals in the last few years.