Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesman Jim Hume MSP have pressed the new minister for mental health for clarity on his priorities after an answer to a parliamentary question on the topic avoided giving any specific details on how he planned to support mental health services.
Mr Hume MSP said:
“It’s disappointing that the Minister has responded to my specific question with what people might rightly see as civil service twaddle. Not once does he even mention mental health – this is his Ed Miliband moment, who famously forgot the word ‘deficit’ in his conference speech. This doesn’t provide me with any reassurance that the new mental health minister is focussed on tackling the real problems facing mental health care provision in Scotland.
“There is a lot of work to be done if the Scottish Government is to drive down abysmal waiting times for children and adult access to mental health services. We know that staffing and capacity are areas sorely in need of support from Scottish ministers. Scotland’s mental health strategy is due for review this year. I hope the Minister will reflect seriously on how he plans to address mental health issues which affect one in four Scots.”
Jim Hume MSP asked the following Parliamentary Question:
Jim Hume (South Scotland) (Scottish Liberal Democrats): To ask the Scottish Government what the priorities are for the Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health.
Mr Jamie Hepburn MSP:
In line with the objectives set out in the Programme for Government my main priority is to work with my ministerial colleagues and their teams across government and with the wider public sector and the third sector to tackle inequalities in our society. I will focus my efforts on ensuring that the policies under my direction contribute fully to help make Scotland’s communities vibrant, thriving and resilient places where people can achieve their full potential, where they can access the appropriate level of support and services that help them do this.