The Welsh Liberal Democrats have hit out at Labour Ministers for neglecting thousands of mental health patients who won’t benefit from changes to waiting time targets.
The Welsh Government are announcing plans to cut waiting time targets for local primary mental health services from 56 to 28 days. However, young people referred to specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) will still be subject to a longer 16 week (112 day) target – one that is met only 50% of the time according to the latest figures.
Also not included in the announcement are patients waiting to access psychological therapies in secondary care. Data isn’t collected by the Welsh Government on waiting times for these treatments, and no targets have ever been set, but some patients have reported waiting for up to two years for treatment.
The Welsh Liberal Democrats have put ending mental health discrimination front and centre of their plan for the NHS. Click here to sign the petition.
Kirsty Williams AM, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, said:
“Labour claim that mental health is a priority yet thousands of vulnerable people, including hundreds of young people, will be left behind under their plans.
“These targets may look ambitious on the face of it, but Labour Ministers have decided to keep letting children and young people wait for specialist services for three times as long. This is before factoring in the fact that that target isn’t even met half the time.
“By stretching health boards to meet this new target, many are letting waiting lists for psychological therapies spiral out of control. By not collecting data on waiting times for these vital treatments, Labour Ministers are brushing this problem under the carpet.
“Time after time, Labour have shown their inability to properly address the problems in the Welsh mental healthcare system. Welsh Liberal Democrats are making mental health a priority, putting it front and centre of our plan for the NHS and in line for extra investment. Only the Welsh Lib Dems will give mental health the priority it deserves.”