WIDE ranging changes are being proposed for adult mental health services across Gwent, with the aim of bring care closer to home, and simplifying access to support, at whatever level a patient needs.

And patients, their carers, families and friends, staff, and other organisations that help deliver services, can now have their say on the proposals and offer views on how they might be improved.

The plans cover adult mental health services provided at both primary and secondary care level, from those for people with 'low level' problems such as anxiety and depression, to people in crisis, and those in need of inpatient and specialist inpatient treatment.

They aim to address a number of issues identified by both patients and the staff who run current services, including different levels of, or gaps in, provision in different parts of Gwent, the varied ways in which people access services - which can be based on factors such as where people live and the time of day they require help - and whether facilities are appropriate.


Among the proposals that Aneurin Bevan University Health Board would welcome feedback, are:

  • Primary care mental health services - these include the creation of more than 30 psychological wellbeing practitioner roles, to help support GPs to meet the needs of patients with problems such as anxiety and depression. These practitioners, would each work across a number of practices, offering assessments, advice and signposting to other community services or more specialised mental health services.
  • A hub-based approach to primary care mental health support services. Referred patients would be contacted and those needing a face-to-face appointment would be offered one in a community-based 'hub' rather than at their GP practice. The hubs would offer mental health assessments and individual and group therapies.
  • Development of a 24/7 crisis assessment support unit, where a person experiencing a mental health crisis can go for a multidisciplinary assessment of their needs. This would bring together a crisis assessment multidisciplinary team. From 9am-9pm, patients would be offered an appointment with their local crisis resolution home treatment team, with those needing help from 9pm-9am being seen as now, at St Cadoc's Hospital in Caerleon. The hospital is being suggested as a base for the unit, as it would be on the same site as other support services and the acute adult ward, enabling easier transfer if needed.
  • Development of a crisis support house to provide community-based overnight and day time support for those in crisis, as an alternative to admission in a homely setting.
  • Provision of separate admission, assessment and recovery wards - one assessment ward to take all new admissions across Gwent and a number of recovery wards where patients can be transferred after treatment.
  • Development of a specialist inpatient service unit, to provide support and services for those needing psychiatric intensive care, low secure provision, or specialist learning disability acute care. Support in principle has been secured from the Welsh Government for a new, purpose-built facility for this purpose.

Full details of the proposals - including where some of these services could be located - and ways in which they can be commented upon, are available by visiting https://abuhb.nhs.wales/about-us/public-engagement-consultation/transforming-adult-mental-health-services-in-gwent

A number of virtual public meetings have also been arranged - starting today - details of which are also available via the above link.

The closing date for comments is Sunday, February 21, 2021.