Mental health custody drop welcome, but support services failing

Mark Williams, Member of Parliament for Ceredigion, has welcomed the drop in the number of people who suffer from mental health problems being held in custody suites in the Dyfed-Powys Police area, but expressed concern about the decreasing level of support available to those who suffer from mental ill health.

The figures, which were obtained under a Freedom of Information request, showed that the number of those held in Dyfed-Powys custody suites due to mental ill health in the police area dropped from 194 in 2011 to 58 in 2015.

In Ceredigion this has seen a drop from 37 in 2011 to 15 in 2015.

Mark said “I welcome the drop in the number of people being held in ‘custody suites’ in the Dyfed-Powys Police area. However, any number of people being held in police cells due to a lack of mental health services is a serious worry. This seems to still be a particular problem in Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion.

“While there have been a noticeable decline in the use of police cells to hold those suffering from mental ill health, the decline has been steeper in some other parts of the Dyfed-Powys Police area than Ceredigion – access to mental health services likely playing a large part in this.

“In Aberystwyth, for example, we have seen the closure of the Afallon Ward at Bronglais Hospital due to staffing problems, which has seen Ceredigion lose its dedicated ward for those suffering from serious mental ill health. This is something that I raised serious concern about at the time, and I have been approached by a number of constituents who have said that the support services that they need are no longer available.

“For many of these people, they are often forced to make the long and difficult journey to Glangwili Hospital in Carmarthen or the Prince Philip Hospital in Llanelli to receive support, taking them away from their families who often provide vital additional support.

“With news that the Afallon ward is likely to be turned into a general ward at the hospital and not be retained as a ward for those suffering from serious mental ill health, there is real worry that those in our community who need support will continue to be failed.”


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