Friday 10 August 2012


Glorious pictures from the garden party held yesterday at Hafal's Trin Hyder project - congratulations to the planners for picking the nicest day of the year so far.

Meanwhile we have posted our response to the Welsh Government's draft mental health Strategy on-line. There was massive support for our User and Carer Panel's campaign on the Strategy and that forms the main message in our formal response presented jointly with the Mental Health Foundation and Bipolar UK: take a look here.

Two specific points made by patients and families are worth highlighting from the whole consultation process...

• We must protect resources for secondary mental health services which require major improvement and must remain the first priority.

• The Standards and actions detailed in the National Service Framework (NSF) and Action Plan for Wales published in 2005 provided clear instruction and direction to service planners and providers on the standard and type of services that needed to be delivered, and it is essential that this is not lost in the roll out of the new Strategy. A clear message needs to be given in the Strategy that the actions required in the NSF and Action Plan must continue and not be abandoned, except as and when specific new outcome-based targets are developed which equal or improve on each of the NSF standards. Such new targets cannot all be developed for inclusion in the Delivery Plan because of the likely tight timescale.

This last point is vital. The Strategy is a slight document for all that there is much good in it. We mustn't give the senior managers of mental health services a message that the Strategy - or even the Delivery Plan - tells them all they need to do! It will take time to replace the old NSF and Action Plan with something as detailed and robust (and, of course, better, we trust and expect).


I had decided to leave the Olympics alone rather than get caught up in the great tide of cynicism - sorry, I mean "patriotic fervour" - sweeping the nation. I haven't watched any of it so far but there are nuggets of interest to be found in the newspaper. I see that the UK Government is wondering how to use the Olympics to inspire a new generation of young people to take up sport, a tall order in view of all the hard work allegedly involved in becoming an elite athlete. The answer is to invite them to do the "Usain Bolt Olympic Quiz" as follows...

What is the right preparation on the night before defending your 200 metre Olympic championship? Is it:
(1) A bowl of wholemeal pasta, a glass of Lucozade, and an early night or
(2) Party until 3 a.m. with three members of the Swedish women's handball team

The correct answer is (2), ultracool Mr Bolt breezily reveals. Good gracious, even I would have taken sport more seriously if I'd known that...