Wednesday 6 June 2012

D Day - 6 June

So it's D Day after all these years of campaigning. Today the legal right to an holistic Care and Treatment Plan is accorded to every user of secondary mental health services in Wales. There is nothing comparable anywhere else in the world and patients, who were the driving force behind the Measure from the start supported by Hafal, are entitled to celebrate.

It was back in 2007 that Jonathan Morgan AM won the ballot to bring forward an LCO under the incredibly cumbersome legislative process then in place (now swept away following the recent referendum). But in fact the campaign goes much further back when Hafal worked hard for reciprocal rights - designed to compensate for the compulsion at the heart of the longstanding Mental Health Act - to be included in the new (UK) Mental Health Bill (remember that? We didn't get the reciprocal rights but Hafal Members were the major influence in bringing down the first Bill). The UK Government was signally unimpressed and our attention therefore had to move onto the new powers given to the National Assembly.

Note of course that there are transitional arrangements. Patients who already have a CPA Plan will have these gradually replaced so that the last new Plan will be in place in a year's time. For full details of the new Plans see our brilliant new guide here.

A reminder of the eight "life areas" to be covered in Care and Treatment Plans...

a) accommodation

b) education and training

c) finance and money

d) medical and other forms of treatment, including psychological interventions

e) parenting or caring relationships

f) personal care and physical well-being

g) social, cultural or spiritual

h) work and occupation.

Hafal’s Members pioneered this methodical, holistic approach to recovery from serious mental illness which was based on the experiences of hundreds of people. We published our methodology six years ago and this holistic approach was then rolled out through Hafal’s projects across Wales. The legislation is a genuine example of government listening carefully to patients and then acting on their expert advice.

More on this shortly including details of the joint launch of our guide and the Code of Practice by the Minister of Health on Monday.


The Mental Health Measure cannot quite compete for importance and drama with the original D Day on 6 June 1944. Among the 160,000 who landed on the beaches that day were the 2nd Battalion South Wales Borderers (the only Welsh unit involved) who came ashore at Arromanches-les-Bains. They didn't have time to stop and appreciate this scenic resort - indeed they didn't stop until the Axis gave up and the Battalion occupied Germany until 1948.

In the days following the invasion Arromanches was made into an artificial "Mulberry" harbour, an invention of Welsh engineer Hugh Iorys Hughes who was treated as a fantasist until the War Office finally realised he was onto something. The huge concrete remains of the harbour litter the coast to this day as a reminder of his genius.

I have only good memories of Arromanches in the late 20th century, in particular the Hotel Normandie which then had the rudest staff but the best seafood in the whole north coast of France (I revisited a couple of years ago and it had changed hands - the staff were charming and the food indifferent). Incidentally if you can't take rudeness then don't go to Normandy - the rest of France finds them rude and that's saying something (it's what some people say about doubt unfairly).