New Chair sets out vision for mental health services in Wales

Wales news
12 August 2020

The new chair of RCPsych in Wales has set out her vision for mental health services – as she takes up post this week.

Dr Maria Atkins has taken up the chair role from her predecessor Professor Keith Lloyd.

In setting out her vision for mental health services in Wales, Dr Atkins is keen to see an increase in staffing levels of rural areas through new ways of working.

Dr Atkins, a consultant adult psychiatrist at Hywel Dda University Health Board, says the staffing of rural areas is a “big challenge”.

This is despite recruitment and retention across Wales showing signs of improvement, including all core training posts being filled last year.

Dr Atkins said: “My vision for mental health in Wales is clear. What we currently have is inadequate resources trying to meet increasing demand. That needs to change.

“The health board in which I work is pioneering new ways of delivering rural services through an international collaboration, and there should be some exciting developments from that.

“With the Welsh Parliament having devolved responsibility for health, maintaining a close relationship with the decision-makers is important.

“I want to see us psychiatrists developing psychotherapeutic skills and less risk averse ways of thinking.

“It should also mean we work more collaboratively with patients, which will help them to manage their health better and us to develop better services.”  

Professor Keith Lloyd has held the position of chair in Wales for the past four years. He said: “I know Dr Atkins will bring passion and commitment to the continuation of the work that we have been doing with government, partners and the Welsh Parliament to ensure that care for our patients is improved

“Maria is sure to do a great job and under her leadership the College will continue to grow, standing up and being the voice of mental health in Wales.”