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18th August 2015

Ring-fencing of mental health spending in Wales: review points way forward

The Welsh Government has committed itself to continuing to ring-fence the mental health budget in Wales following an independent review it commissioned into the policy which has been in place since 2008.

The Review of the Financial Ring-fencing Arrangements for Mental Health Services in Wales, by PricewaterhouseCoopers, concluded that the purpose of the ring-fence – to protect expenditure on mental health services – has largely been achieved. However the report contains a number of recommendations which, if adopted, would see expenditure and outcomes being more closely linked.

In 2015-16, the Welsh Government has ring-fenced £587m for mental health services across Wales – up from £389m in 2009-10. Earlier this year, the Minister for Health and Social Services announced an additional £15m of new funding is being made available for mental health services in Wales every year.

Recommendations on linking mental health services expenditure and outcomes

The Welsh Government is now considering the PriceWaterhouseCoopers recommendations to improve the linking of expenditure with outcomes – it will publish a further statement later in the year following discussion with stakeholders.

Health and Social Services Minister Mark Drakeford said: "Mental ill health can have a significant impact on life expectancy and is a key cause of health inequalities.

"One in four adults experiences mental health problems or illness at some point during their lifetime, while one in six of us will be experiencing symptoms at any one time. One in 10 children between the ages of five and 16 has a mental health problem and many more have behavioural issues. That’s why mental health is one of my main priorities.

“In Wales, we spend more on mental health services than on any other part of the NHS; today’s announcement is a further demonstration of our commitment to this vital part of the health service."

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