Friday 5 November 2010


I am gently chided for whinging by Hafal Vice-Chair Chris Eastwood. I complained about having to drive the whole length of the A470 from (south) coast to (north) coast – but Chris, a keen driver who unusually has not lost the taste for what used to be called the “open road”, says I’m lucky because it is a scenic and interesting route. He’s right of course and in truth it was a good drive with little traffic, at least up to Dolgellau where some fog lowered the spirits but that soon dispersed and I rolled into Llandudno Tesco’s to buy a picnic to set out on the bed and consume in the Premier Inn (the "Lenny Henry" chain - personally I am a Travelodge man by choice but there isn't a handy one for our North Wales centre in Colwyn Bay).

I am up here for the quarterly meeting of North Wales staff and Trustees (users and carers). Morale is good but there is proportionate concern about the gathering grey clouds of public spending cuts due to give us all a chilly drenching from April onwards. For all that everybody agrees that for our clients the overwhelming concern is the ongoing review – and future changes – to benefits. Hafal’s leaflet on this used during the summer has been especially welcomed and all agree we could do a lot of good by updating and reissuing it early in 2011.

Meanwhile we discuss the good progress made on the Measure (more on this next week) and we hatch plans to build on the new legislation next year both by encouraging clients to make maximum use of their new rights, in particular the right to an holistic care plan, and by awakening managers of mental health services to the implications of those new rights for their management and commissioning of services.

If anybody still doubts the important role - no, I should say essential role - of care-planning for people with a serious mental illness then see Hafal's Dave Smith eloquently describing his experience on ITV (link here).