The Welsh government has cut its waiting time targets for patients with mental health problems, in a bid to ensure timely access to treatment, it was announced today.
The 56-day assessment to treatment target has now changed to become a 28-day target, and all health boards will be expected to show progress towards this target by the end of March 2016.
This year, the budget for mental health services in Wales is £587m, up from £389m in 2009-10. This equates to 11.4% of the total Welsh NHS budget – the single biggest area of expenditure.
Announcing the changes, Mark Drakeford, the Welsh minister for health and social services, said: “One in four people in Wales will, at some point in their lives, experience mental ill health. That’s why mental health is one of the Welsh government’s main priorities.
“This announcement will help ensure timely access to treatment, ensuring people who need expert care and support receive the right services in the right place at the right time. Some organisations are already meeting or are close to meeting this new target. I expect other health boards to make progress towards meeting this tighter target by the end of March,” he added.
The 28-day target contrasts those in England, as in April 2015 NHS England introduced a target that 75% of adults should expect treatment within six weeks and 95% within 18 weeks.