We've called on the Welsh Government and NHS Wales to ensure their plans for responding to the Coronavirus include adequate provision for those with mental illness and acute loneliness who self-isolate.
The number of confirmed Coronavirus cases in Wales is only expected to rise further. On Thursday the Welsh Government entered the delay stage of dealing with the virus.
As a result, plans will be being formulated to best deal with the virus as it spreads and reaches its peak. We anticipate these plans will involve a substantial degree of remote consultations with patients and a significant increase in the use of Telehealth.
We believe these plans should include provision for Telehealth for those with mental illness and those experiencing acute loneliness.
Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds said:
As we all grasp with the unfortunate reality that Coronavirus is going to get significantly worse in Wales, we must all look out for the vulnerable and forgotten members of society.
It is entirely right that our health professionals are preparing plans to best deal with Coronavirus. These plans will undoubtedly address the immense physical health challenges the virus will pose.
Today I’m asking the Welsh Government and NHS Wales to ensure these plans don’t forget the impact of Coronavirus on mental health and loneliness.
Many who have to self-isolate across Wales will experience acute loneliness whilst they do so. Whilst those with mental illness who self-isolate may also find themselves cut off from vital support networks.
I’m sure NHS Wales strategies being drafted for dealing with Coronavirus will involve a substantial role for telehealth and remote consultations for physical health conditions. I urge NHS Wales to ensure their strategies also include sufficient capacity for remote mental health consultations so those with mental illness or acute loneliness can get the support they need whilst self-isolating.