The waiting time target for treating people experiencing mental ill health in Wales is being cut from 56 to 28 days to ensure faster access to treatment.
The Welsh government first introduced waiting times for assessment and treatment by local primary mental health support services in 2012.
“I expect health boards to make progress towards meeting this tighter target by the end of March”
Under the old target, patients referred for a mental health assessment should be seen within 28 days and, following assessment, those who need treatment should receive it within 56 days.
The 56-day assessment to treatment target has now changed to become a 28-day target.
All health boards will be expected to show progress towards meeting the new target by the end of the financial year, said the Welsh government.
Waiting times for mental health assessment and treatment in Wales are already more stringent than those in England, it stated.
In April 2015, NHS England introduced a target that 75% of adults should expect treatment within six weeks and 95% within 18 weeks.
Announcing the changes, health minister Professor Mark Drakeford said mental health was one of the Welsh government’s “main priorities”.
“This announcement will help ensure timely access to treatment, ensuring people who need expert care and support receive the right services in the right place at the right time,” he said.
He added: “Some organisations are already meeting or are close to meeting this new target. I expect other health boards to make progress towards meeting this tighter target by the end of March.”
Mental health funding in Wales has been ring-fenced since 2008-09. The 2015-16 budget for mental health services in Wales is £587m.