I was interested to read the piece advising us on the ASIST programme from Mind Cymru.
It seems ironic that, at a time when the government wants GPs to work longer, Mind is promoting a system which needs the NHS itself to work longer and more properly. Mind should not need to promote what should be a core NHS service. It appears that mental health across the principality relies on voluntary help.
Surely it is time our managers monitored when suicide events occur. Unfortunately, I am only working in a patient pool of 12,000, and the power of numbers would not be sufficient to prove it, but I believe most problems occur at weekends, particularly extended bank holidays, and on Friday afternoons or evenings. Until bank holiday Tuesdays and Friday afternoons are worked properly, with shifts extended into the evenings, we will be unable to make a big impression on suicide events.
Community mental health trust members need to operate from our premises, sharing the same database.
These are structural issues which Mind cannot address. I welcome their initiative but fear it will not affect outcomes.
Dr Roger Burns, Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire.