Page last updated at 09:03 GMT, Thursday, 11 February 2010

Mental health powers for assembly

Depressed man
The powers will make a difference to those with mental illness in Wales

The Welsh assembly is being given new powers which it is claimed will pave the way for big improvements in mental health services.

AMs will now be able to make new laws to improve the assessment and treatment of mental health disorders.

It is the first Legislative Competence Order (LCO) by a backbench AM.

An LCO allows the assembly to draw down more powers from Westminster, and powers on the Welsh language and the environment will also be transferred.

Conservative AM Jonathan Morgan has fought a long campaign for the mental health powers.

He wants to improve the rights of those suffering from mental problems to have legal rights to assessment and treatment.

These new powers will enable the Welsh Assembly Government to bring forward proposals to deliver its 'One Wales' commitments and implement its legislative programme
Welsh Secretary Peter Hain

Mr Morgan said at present people with mental health disorders do not get the advice, both legal and practical, that they should, and in some cases it leads to delayed treatment which makes the disorder worse.

He said he is looking forward to a new Welsh law being passed using the powers that will make a real difference to the lives of those who suffer from mental illness in Wales.

Mr Morgan said there had been all-party agreement, both at Westminster and Cardiff Bay for the new powers.

He said: "I always thought it was rather bizarre that when the devolution settlement was written we were given considerable powers to affect the NHS to make huge changes for those people with physical illnesses but the body of law relating to mental illnesses stayed with Westminster."

"So there's a lot of goodwill riding on this and I think we have to keep the momentum up now by ensuring that we reform services in a way that shows that Wales can lead the rest of the UK in providing better care for those people with a mental illness.

'Made in Wales'

"And when you consider that one in four of the population of Wales, maybe one in three, at some point in their lives will encounter a mental illness, then that is something that should really spur politicians on into providing a better service for those people who've become mentally unwell."

Welsh Secretary Peter Hain said the mental health LCO brought forward by a backbench AM proved the LCO system was "working well and delivering for Wales".

"These new powers will enable the Welsh Assembly Government to bring forward proposals to deliver its 'One Wales' commitments and implement its legislative programme.

"The Welsh language order is important to all people in Wales and as a strong supporter of the Welsh language I am very pleased that the assembly will now have additional powers to legislate on matters relating to the language.

"The environment LCO will enable the assembly to make 'made in Wales' policies to tackle some key issues relating to climate change, further illustrating the success of devolution."

Print Sponsor

New mental health powers sought
18 Feb 08 |  Wales
Suicide rate drops in young men
15 Feb 08 |  Health
Mental health nurses face attacks
13 Feb 08 |  Health
Lab-Plaid assembly powers quarrel
14 Jan 08 |  Wales

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

FROM OTHER NEWS SITES Wales This Week - 19 mins ago
Times Online Parties unite in rage over secret care Bill talks - 10 hrs ago Forget the slate tips - think Snowdonia - 14 hrs ago
Accountancy Age Tax disputes: see you in court - 16 hrs ago

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific