Calls for mental health equality to be protected in Scottish NHS


Liberal Democrats say health service reform would benefit vulnerable patients

THE Scottish Parliament will discuss proposals to improve access to mental health services through the National Health Service.

Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Jim Hume MSP, in a press release prior to the discussions, said: “There is an increasing recognition that mental health is just as important as physical health but this has not been matched by support for crucial mental health services.

“Treatment targets for people struggling with mental ill health are routinely missed. Too many young people face waits of over six months to be treated for mental ill health.”

The minister responsible for health improvement and mental health, Jamie Hepburn MSP, supported the government’s record on mental health in comments to The Scotsman.

He pointed out that legislation ensuring the equality of physical and mental health is already within government legislation: “Since 2009, we have invested nearly PS17m in child and adolescent mental health services, and the specialist workforce has increased by 24 per cent to a record level.”

“This government introduced the waiting times target that no one will wait longer than 18 weeks for treatment, with people needing urgent treatment seen more quickly, sometimes on the same day.”

Concerns relating to mental health services will be raised during oral questions in the Scottish Parliament today [Wednesday 4th March].

Earlier this week figures from the Information Services Division Scotland found an increase in young people waiting to access mental health services.

Previous freedom of information requests also revealed an increase in self-harm cases among young people in Scotland.

The Scottish Government claims the increases are down to more people coming forward to access services. The Labour party has criticised the government for “letting down” vulnerable children.

Picture courtesy of Liz Spikol