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Minister rejects unified mental health body for Wales

2 October 2008

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The Welsh health minister has rejected plans to have a single body run all the mental health services in the country.

Edwina Hart said the proposal failed to pick up support when it went out for consultation. It will instead be included in a reorganised NHS currently being drawn up by the Assembly government.

The Assembly member for Gower said she wanted to make sure that mental health was “no longer a ‘Cinderella’ service” within the new set-up.

Although health bodies and local councils strongly opposed it, the proposal was backed by patients’ groups and charities.

Mrs Hart said in a statement: “The one consistent message that came through these discussions was that mental health services in Wales must improve, and urgently.”

She said she expected to see a big improvement in the service over the next three years and that the money currently available for it “at a minimum will be fully protected”.

“No change is not an option and I will ensure that in the reorganised NHS mental health services have a very high priority,” she added.

In her attempt to do away with an internal market in the health service, Mrs Hart has proposed replacing the 22 local health boards – which plan and pay for services – with eight new bodies to run the NHS.

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Welsh Assembly