Improved Children’s Mental Health Services In South Wales Move Closer

A new state-of-the-art unit for children and young people in South Wales living with mental health conditions moved a step closer following approval from the Welsh Assembly Government.

The £22million Assembly Government-funded facility will be developed at the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend.

The unit, providing a 24-hour, seven-day service, will have a 14-bed planned treatment ward and a five-bed emergency and high-dependency ward, and help children and young people who are experiencing complex mental health problems such as eating disorders, mood disorders and self-harm.

Subject to approval of planning permission and final detailed business case, the new unit is expected to open late next year. The new unit is based in Bridgend due to its central location in South Wales.

Health Minister Edwina Hart said: “There are a range of services to support children and young people living with mental health conditions, whether that be by GPs, education, social services, hospitals, the voluntary sector or access to specialist care.

“I am determined to further improve the care for young people. Specialist mental health services for young people in South Wales have historically been offered at the Harvey Jones unit in Cardiff. However, while work on the new £22million development at the Princess of Wales Hospital which has been planned for some time is progressing well, young people now have access to improved interim facilities at Glanrhyd Hospital.

“The new unit will also enable more young people to receive care closer to their home, family and friends and reduce the need to travel for treatment.

“The unit will provide a more integrated service with an effective and seamless follow up treatment and support after patients have moved on from the inpatient phase of their care. It will also reduce existing reliance on use of specialist non-NHS mental health services outside Wales.

“On top of this significant capital funding, the One Wales document made a commitment to child and adolescent mental health services. The budget settlement included an additional £4.8million between now and 2010-11 to improve service delivery. This will be complemented by £6.5million allocated to developing a school-based counselling service.”

Dr Meraj Hasan, Clinical Director for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services based at Cwm Taf NHS Trust, said: “Family interventions are an important element in the treatment of adolescents and young people suffering from mental health problems. Best practice is to involve the family in therapy sessions, and in other work with the young person. The new unit will enable such work to develop.

“I’m delighted this much-needed scheme is moving forward. Over the past few years considerable emphasis has been placed on the need to improve mental health services for young people. This unit will be a big step in helping to improve the services we can offer, and in an environment designed for young people.”

David Francis, chair of Cwm Taf NHS Trust, added: “This is excellent news. We look forward to working with all colleagues in commissioning the new purpose-built unit to improve services to young people across the whole of South Wales.”

Win Griffiths, chair of ABM University NHS Trust, said: “The unit will provide a much better service for children and young people with mental health problems in South Wales. I look forward to its speedy completion and welcome the support of the Welsh Assembly Government for this state-of-the-art unit provided at the Princess of Wales Hospital site.”