Friday 6 May 2011


It will be interesting to see what Labour does having narrowly failed to get a majority in the Assembly (see the full results here). If they govern without a partner then there could be trench warfare in the Assembly and lots of opportunities for campaigners like Hafal to persuade individual AMs to use their considerable leverage in those circumstances to change things. If they have a partner (Plaid presumably, though you never know) then campaigners will continue to have the two bites of the cherry we've been used to in recent years - I mean in the sense that you can try things out on both governing parties.

Either way it looks like fertile territory, not least for Hafal's Assembly lobbyist Junaid Iqbal who will be introducing himself to the new boys and girls and welcoming back the old hands.

The other unknown is quite what the Assembly will do with its new powers. The Labour manifesto offers clues but you wonder whether there will be more in terms of restructuring of local government, education, etc.

The downside of a government without a comfortable majority is the difficulty of making painful but necessary reforms. Will any government be able to address the elephant in the room - 22 counties in a country with half the population of Yorkshire? Of course the other elephant (22 Local Health Boards) has already been shooed off by the formidable Edwina Hart...

But back down to earth let's remind ourselves what Labour said about mental health in their manifesto. They promised to:-

• Use the legislative powers delivered by the Mental Health Measure to
ensure modern, user-focused care is consistently in place.

• Provide every patient with an individual care plan, informed and approved by them and their carers.

• Review access to the range of ‘talking treatments’ across Wales.

• Ensure access to crisis intervention teams.

• Raise awareness of mental health issues amongst employers and employees so that those with mental health problems can gain and retain employment.

• Continue to improve care and support for people with dementia and their families.

• Continue to reduce the time between the onset of symptoms of dementia and diagnosis.

• Continue to move away from institutionalised environments, focusing on effective community-based care, other than in the most serious and exceptional circumstances.

• Introduce a dementia care awareness programme for all healthcare professionals in Wales, ensuring that general care on hospital wards responds to the prevalence of dementia from a growing elderly population.

Some useful stuff here but we'll need more...