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This first newsletter aims to introduce you to the National Programme for Adult Mental Health, and to what we hope to achieve in the future.

We will issue newsletters after each meeting of the Programme Board to ensure that you are kept up to date with our thinking and can influence our proposals as they are developing.

We hope you find it informative and welcome any feedback you may have. Please email comments to


The National Programme for Mental Health is one of a series of programmes established by the NHS to deliver high impact change in the delivery of health services in Wales over the next five years. We established the Programme Board in April this year.

Mental health is not, as is often misunderstood, a lack of mental illness but a state of well-being where people lead productive, satisfying and creative lives. The aim of the Programme Board is to demonstrably improve the quality of life for people across Wales.

Previous reviews of mental health services in Wales, as well as in the rest of the UK, have repeatedly identified problems in meeting standards, lack of user and carer engagement, and inadequacies in access, care and recovery. We want to change this by putting service users and carers in a position of real and tangible influence in shaping services that treat people with dignity and respect. Everyone should expect this as a minimum standard and we believe that this should be the catalyst to change professional behaviour and ultimately to alter society’s ideas about mental health and its behaviour towards people with mental health problems.

Mental health and well-being does not operate in a vacuum of just one organisation or service but as shared partners that are critical to the success of improving standards. Getting the balance right between these services will be central to our work.


We aim to:
 provide leadership, direction and support to ensure that high quality care can be delivered
 promote and protect the mental health and well-being of citizens
 put service users and carers in a position of real influence
 make sure we provide value for money.



The Programme Board is jointly chaired by Mary Burrows, Chief Executive, Betsi Cadwaladr LHB and Stewart Greenwell, Corporate Director, Newport City Council. The co-chairmanship between health and local government will help us to make sure that we achieve the balance between mental health and well being. The Co-Chairs are working closely with a small yet representative mix of senior leaders who will provide the leadership, direction and support to public, independent and third sector organisations to improve the quality of mental health and well-being in our communities. A full list of the members of the Programme Board is provided at the end of this newsletter. The National Programme Director is Siân Richards.

The following sub groups will support the Programme Board:

• Secure Services
• Dementia Services
• Mental Health Continuing Health Care Repatriation Group
• Mental Health Action Plans Task and Finish Group
• Finance Task and Finish Group

The Programme Board has no statutory power. Our authority and influence is granted by the members that participate and influence change. Responsibility for the delivery of services remains with the Local Health Boards and providers from other sectors and we will work closely with these. The Programme Board reports to the Chief Executive of the NHS/ Director General Health and Social Services and through him to the Minister for Health and Social Services.


The Programme Board has developed a ‘virtual’ group to provide external comment and feedback on the progress of the Programme Board. It is made up from existing working parties, task groups, advisory structures, networks, and partnership forums. A stakeholder database is currently under development and is listed at the end of this newsletter.

This newsletter will be circulated to all of these groups after each Programme Board meeting updating members on the work of the Programme and inviting comments. If you think that we may have missed anyone please let us know.
The Co-Chairs and the Mental Health Programme Director are attending as many conferences and events as possible in order to raise awareness of the Programme Board and to actively engage users, carers and professionals in our work and emerging priorities. If you are aware of any events within your area, please let us know the details.

You have already raised with us that you believe the Programme Board should be enhanced to include user and carer representation. This request was agreed by the Programme Board in our meeting on the 10 August. Wales Alliance for Mental Health (WAMH) will be developing proposals as to how we identify the most appropriate individuals to take up these roles.


There are specific areas of work to which we will be paying particular attention. This will include overseeing the:

• National Service Framework (NSF) for Mental Health and the relevant sections of the NSF for Older Persons.

• NHS 5 year National Implementation Action Plan once it has been agreed and issued by the Welsh Assembly Government, recognising the implications it will have for everyone involved in Mental Health

• Improvement of services for people with dementia based on the action plans recently issued by the Minister for Health and Social Care.

• Secure Services Action Plan which will help us to ensure that secure services are provided in the safest and least restrictive environment and as close to a person’s home as possible

• The effective transition of care from Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) to Adult Mental Health Services

• Initiatives to combat the stigma and discrimination associated with Mental Health.

Learning disabilities, substance misuse and autistic spectrum disorder are included in the Programme where there is co-morbidity/dual diagnosis. Eating disorders is being discussed as a potential area for inclusion in the Programme.


Within our first three months we have already:

• Established the Programme Board and programme infrastructure.
• Determined priorities for the Programme Board as a guide for Local Health Boards and partners – this will be ongoing.
• Developed links with existing networks to influence our thinking and share developing work
• Undertaken a financial appraisal to identify short and longer term savings to deliver cost effective services.
• Reviewed all action plans for the service to identify a core number of high impact changes.
• Established a national implementation group to oversee the Dementia Action Plan
• Determine and help spread good practice for safe and effective care.

Our priorities for the next three months (September to December) are:

• Complete the mapping exercise on the number of priorities and derive a number of high impact changes for services that will make a real difference to service users and carers
• Hold a national conference in November to gather views, opinions and ‘what needs to be done’ to help direct the National Programme for Mental Health
• Help Local Health Boards deliver efficiency savings
• Determine and help spread good practice for safe and effective care


Siân Richards, Programme Director
Tel: 02920 335981
Kate Elis-Williams, Finance Lead
Tel: 01248 384512

Kathryn Parramore, Programme Manager
Tel: 02920 335983
Gemma Trigg, PA to Programme Director
Tel: 02920 335981

Programme Board Membership

Chief Executive NHS Health Board
(Joint Chair) Mary Burrows
Chief Executive, Betsi Cadwaladr LHB

Chief Executive or Corporate Director Local Government / Association of Directors of Social Services (Joint Chair)
Stewart Greenwell Corporate Director Care and Customers, Newport City Council
Representative from Care Forum Wales Brian West, Care Forum Wales

Representative for the Wales Alliance for Mental Health (WAMH) Ewan Hilton, Executive Director, Gofal Cymru
Susan Wigmore, Manager, MDF Cymru

Representative for the Council for Voluntary Councils (WCVC)
To be confirmed
Registered Social Landlord Chief Executive Representing Housing
Prof Michael Williams, Chief Executive, Gwalia

University Academic Chair specialising in Mental Health Prof Bob Woods , Bangor University

Trade Union Representative (RCN)
To be confirmed
Representative for the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) Steve Thomas
Chief Executive, WLGA

Representative for Public Health Wales NHS Trust
Dr Paul Tromans
Regional Director for SE Wales

LHB Director of Therapies and Health Science
Andy Phillips
Director of Therapies and Health Science, Abertawe Bro Morgannwg LHB

LHB Lead Mental Health Clinician
Dr Carl Hooper,
Clinical Director, Hywel Dda LHB

LHB Director of Primary, Community and Mental Health
Joanne Absalom
Director Primary, Community and Mental Health Services, Aneurin Bevan LHB

National Leadership and Innovation Agency for Health (NLIAH) Mental Health Lead
Dr Les Rudd
Mental Health Development Lead for Wales,

Workforce Lead
Stephen Griffiths
Director, Workforce Development, NLIAH

WAG representative for Chief Medical Officer
Dr Chris Jones, Deputy Chief Medical Officer

Dr Sarah Watkins, Senior Medical Officer

WAG representative for Chief Nursing Officer
Peter Meredith-Smith
Nursing Officer Expert Advisor Mental Health and Learning Disabilities

WAG Director of Social Services
Rob Pickford
Director of Social Services Wales

WAG Mental Health Policy Lead for the Director General Health and Social Services
Simon Dean
Director of Strategy and Planning
Representative for the Director General Public Services and Local Government Delivery
Karin Phillips
Head of Community Safety Division
Representative of WAG Mental Health, Vulnerable Groups and Offenders Branch
Peter Martin, Acting Head of Branch

Programme Director
Siân Richards
Programme Manager Kathryn Parramore


• Advocacy Wales
• All Wales Improvement Network for Older People’s Mental Health Services
• All Wales MH Development Officers/Service Users & Carers (SU&C) Involvement Workers Peer Support Groups
• Assertive Outreach Service Network
• Crime & Disorder (C&D) Partnership SU&C Board members
• C&D SU&C Networks/groups
• Care Programme Approach (CPA) Association
• Crisis Resolution and Home Treatment Team (CRHT) Network
• Flintshire SU&C groups
• Hafan Cymru
• Health & Social Care Facilitators
• Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies Group
• Intelligent Targets (1000+ Lives Campaign)
• G&M SU&C Forums/groups
• LMA Directors Forum
• Mental Health Accommodation Network
• Mental Health Action Wales (MHAW)
• Mental Health Managers Network
• Mental Health Research Network
• Mind in Wales
• National Professional Bodies and Associations
• North Wales Recovery Network.
• North Wales in Mind
• North Wales Voluntary Sector Network/ CIM, C&D Voluntary Sector Network/Flintshire/Wrexham Voluntary Sector Networks.
• North Wales User Network
• North Wales (NW) IMHA Service
• NWMH Advocacy Network
• Regional Networks
• Strategic Planning Groups/Local Joint Planning Groups
• Unllais
• Wales Alliance for Mental Health (WAMH)
• Wales Mental Health Nursing Directors Group
• Wales Mental Health in Primary Care Network
• Wales Mental Health Promotion Network

The newsletter will also be distributed to:

• Programme Board Members
• All LHB Vice Chairs and Chief Executives
• Mental Health Clinical Leaders
• LHB Directors of Primary Care, Community and Mental Health Services
• LHB Directors of Planning
• Community Health Councils
• Council for Voluntary Councils

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