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Melding: Supporting mental health patients in Wales

Speech to the National Assembly for Wales.

"I thank everyone who has taken part in this debate, although I am being very generous in thanking Dai Lloyd for his intervention. Interventions are a skilled art and, when done well, are perfect cameos that add something to a debate.

However, I think it fair to say that Dr Lloyd has yet to grasp, or even start to grasp, that particular task. Not being able to distinguish between mismanagement and political interference, and holding Governments to account for broad standards in the scrutiny function that we apply in the Chamber was a sad misunderstanding of the governmental process.

I have to say that he was answered admirably by the broad sweep and the control of detail of my colleague, Jonathan Morgan, in holding the Government to account for its lack of progress in implementing the national service framework.

I thank Helen Mary Jones for being far more constructive—once she got through the ritual attacks. The reform of mental health law is important, but the Minister says that the Labour group will not support amendment 4, because it refers to 'all legislation', and it suddenly has some objections to that.

We are talking about the fundamental reform now proposed by the Government at Westminster to the England-and-Wales Mental Health Act 1983, which itself updated earlier law from the 1950s. That is clearly what Plaid Cymru is referring to, and we certainly support calls for that to be devolved, so that we could deal with it as an Assembly Measure—perhaps as the first major item of work in the next Assembly.

What a triumph it would be if that stood as an example of how we could make legislation in Wales. We will accept the broad way in which the amendment has been drafted, and we will vote in support of it. We will also support the other two amendments, but not amendment 3 in the name of Jocelyn Davies.

Jenny Randerson concentrated on child and adolescent services and reminded us of the work of the Children's Commissioner for Wales, and also the work of the Children's Commissioner for England, which was reported today, I think.

In England, the focus is on the situation of many adolescents and even children having to be placed in acute adult units, because there is simply nowhere else to put them; clinicians are so desperate to admit them somewhere that they use those units.

Unfortunately, that also happens in Wales, and that is where we are at until we have comprehensive services that do not fail. It is a real problem and challenge for us.

Mark Isherwood concentrated on issues of economic inactivity, relevant to many people who suffer mental illness.

In fact, fewer than 20 per cent of them are in gainful employment, and that is a real problem. He also reminded us that, for years, mental health and the improvement of services has been one of our three key priorities—or, strictly speaking, one of the Welsh Assembly Government's key priorities, supported right across the Assembly.

It is not a political issue, but it has full support and a deep consensus, yet there is still evidence of poor and slow progress. That is what we have to address this afternoon.

Nick Bourne referred to the need for effective services in the community and also day-care services. That is very important to support people and to give them gainful purpose during the day, even if they are not necessarily in full-time work.

One area that has not been touched upon in any detail is the number of looked-after children who have mental illnesses. That figure is something like a half of all looked-after children, and is massively above the proportion for mental illness in the general population.

I am pleased to say that an all-party group on looked-after children is being launched this evening, and I commend Voices from Care Cymru for being the inspiration for that group. I am very pleased to say that it is being enthusiastically supported by all parties and by Members of the Welsh Assembly Government. We are very grateful.

The Minister talked about the reordering of priorities, and asked where the examples were. We would just like some of your priorities to be achieved, Minister. We would start with that. Perhaps that is a compromise, so that you can support our motion, even late in the day. He did refer to the consultation that has recently concluded.

It is important that we take on board the messages from users and carers. He was right to point to the need for better therapeutic services. We are modernising acute units; that is well overdue, and there is still a great deal to be done.

However, I support the current priority, using the capital estate for new units, such as the one to which you referred in Llandough. There is a need for a range of therapies; we all know that people with mental illnesses often emphasise the importance of cognitive therapies and the like.

We all welcome the Minister's emphasis on a holistic approach. People with mental illnesses are people first and foremost: they want jobs, families, entertainment and leisure. Therefore, I commend this motion and three of the four amendments to the Assembly."

"Carwn ddiolch i bawb a gymerodd ran yn y ddadl hon, er y credaf imi fod yn garedig iawn yn diolch i Dai Lloyd am ei ymyriad ef. Mae ymyriadau'n grefft ac, o gael eu cyflwyno'n dda, maent yn gameos perffaith sy'n cyfoethogi dadl.

Fodd bynnag, credaf ei bod hi'n deg dweud nad yw Dr Lloyd wedi meistroli, na hyd yn oed ddechrau meistroli, y dasg arbennig honno. Mae methu â gwahaniaethu rhwng camreoli ac ymyriad gwleidyddol, a dal y Llywodraeth i gyfrif am safonau eang yn y swyddogaeth caffael a ddefnyddiwn yn y Siambr, yn gamddealltwriaeth trist o'r drefn lywodraethu.

Rhaid imi ddweud iddo gael ei ateb yn wych gan ehangder gwybodaeth a rheolaeth fy nghyfaill, Jonathan Morgan, dros fanylion, wrth ddal y Llywodraeth i gyfrif am ei diffyg cynnydd yn gweithredu'r fframwaith gwasanaeth cenedlaethol.

Diolchaf i Helen Mary Jones am fod yn fwy adeiladol—unwaith iddi gael ei hymosodiadau arferol o'r ffordd. Y mae diwygio cyfraith iechyd meddwl yn bwysig, ond dywed y Gweinidog na fydd y grwp Llafur yn cefnogi gwelliant 4 am ei fod yn cyfeirio ar 'bob deddfwriaeth', ac yn sydyn, mae ganddi rai gwrthwynebiadau i hynny. Yr ydym yn trafod y diwygio sylfaenol a gynigir yn awr gan y Llywodraeth yn San Steffan i Ddeddf Iechyd Meddwl Cymru a Lloegr 1983, a oedd ei hun yn ddiweddariad o ddeddf gynharach o'r 1950au.

Dyna'n amlwg y mae Plaid Cymru'n cyfeirio ato, ac yr ydym yn sicr yn cefnogi galwadau i weld honno'n cael ei datganoli, er mwyn inni allu delio â'r mater fel Mesur Cynulliad—o bosib fel eitem waith gyntaf y Cynulliad nesaf.

Am gamp fyddai hynny, pe bai honno'n sefyll fel enghraifft o sut y gallem lunio deddfwriaeth yng Nghymru. Derbyniwn y ffordd eang y drafftiwyd y gwelliant, ac fe bleidleisiwn drosto. Cefnogwn hefyd y ddau welliant arall, ond nid gwelliant 3 yn enw Jocelyn Davies.

Canolbwyntiodd Jenny Randerson ar wasanaethau plant a'r glasoed, gan ein hatgoffa o waith Comisiynydd Plant Cymru a hefyd waith Comisiynydd Plant Lloegr, a adroddwyd heddiw, credaf.

Yn Lloegr, mae'r ffocws ar sefyllfa nifer o bobl ifanc, a hyd yn oed plant, sy'n gorfod cael eu cadw mewn unedau aciwt ar gyfer oedolion, am yr unig reswm nad oes unrhyw le arall i'w rhoi; mae clinigwyr mor daer eu hangen i ganfod lle iddynt nes eu bod yn defnyddio'r unedau hynny. Yn anffodus, mae hynny'n digwydd yng Nghymru hefyd, a dyna'r sefyllfa hyd nes bydd gennym wasanaethau cynhwysfawr nad ydynt yn methu. Mae hyn yn wir broblem a her inni.

Canolbwyntiodd Mark Isherwood ar faterion yn ymwneud ag anweithgarwch economaidd, sy'n berthnasol i nifer o bobl sy'n dioddef o salwch meddwl. Yn wir, mae llai nag 20 y cant ohonynt mewn gwaith cyflogedig, ac mae hynny'n broblem wirioneddol.

Atgoffodd ef ni hefyd bod iechyd meddwl, a gwella gwasanaethau, ers blynyddoedd, wedi bod yn un o'r tair blaenoriaeth allweddol—neu, a bod yn fanwl gywir, un o flaenoriaethau allweddol Llywodraeth Cynulliad Cymru, gyda chefnogaeth y Cynulliad i gyd.

Nid mater gwleidyddol mohono, ac mae ganddo gefnogaeth lawn a chonsensws sylweddol, ond eto, ceir tystiolaeth o gynnydd prin ac araf. Dyna y mae'n rhaid inni roi sylw iddo'r prynhawn yma.

Cyfeiriodd Nick Bourne at yr angen am wasanaethau effeithiol yn y gymuned a gwasanaethau gofal-dydd. Mae hynny'n bwysig iawn er mwyn cefnogi pobl a rhoi pwrpas buddiol iddynt yn ystod y dydd, hyd yn oed os nad ydynt, o reidrwydd, mewn gwaith amser llawn.

Un maes na chafodd unrhyw sylw manwl yw'r nifer o blant sy'n derbyn gofal sydd â salwch meddwl. Mae'r ffigur hwnnw oddeutu hanner pob plentyn sy'n derbyn gofal, ac mae ymhell uwchben canran salwch meddwl y boblogaeth gyffredinol.

Mae'n bleser gen i ddatgan bod grwp hollbleidiol ar blant sy'n derbyn gofal yn cael ei lansio heno, ac rwy'n llongyfarch Lleisiau mewn Gofal Cymru am ysbrydoli'r grwp hwnnw. Mae'n bleser mawr gen i ddweud bod pob plaid, ac Aelodau Llywodraeth Cynulliad Cymru, yn ei gefnogi'n frwd. Yr ydym yn hynod ddiolchgar.

Soniodd y Gweinidog am aildrefnu blaenoriaethau, gan ofyn ble'r oedd yr enghreifftiau. Yr unig beth a ofynnwn, Weinidog, yw am gael gweld rhai o'ch blaenoriaethau'n cael eu cyflawni. Byddem yn cychwyn gyda hynny.

Efallai mai cyfaddawd yw hyn, er mwyn ichi gefnogi ein cynnig, hyd yn oed yn hwyr yn y dydd. Cyfeiriodd at yr ymgynghori a ddaeth i ben yn ddiweddar. Mae'n bwysig ein bod yn rhoi sylw i'r negeseuon gan ddefnyddwyr a gofalwyr.

Yr oedd yn iawn i gyfeirio at yr angen am well gwasanaethau therapiwtig. Yr ydym yn moderneiddio unedau llym; y mae'n hen bryd gwneud hynny, ac erys llawer eto i'w wneud. Fodd bynnag, yr wyf yn cefnogi'r flaenoriaeth bresennol, defnyddio'r ystâd gyfalaf ar gyfer unedau newydd, megis yr un y cyfeiriasoch ato yn Llandochau.

Mae angen ystod o therapïau; gwyddom oll fod pobl gyda salwch meddwl yn pwysleisio pwysigrwydd therapïau gwybyddol a rhai tebyg. Yr ydym oll yn croesawu pwyslais y Gweinidog ar agwedd holistaidd.

Pobl yn anad unpeth yw pobl â salwch meddwl: mae arnynt eisiau swyddi, teuluoedd, adloniant a hamdden. Felly, cymeradwyaf y cynnig hwn a thri o'r pedwar gwelliant i'r Cynulliad."

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