Scottish Liberal Democrats will today lead calls to SNP ministers to face the facts on mental health care provision in Scotland.
A Scottish Government motion on mental health, to be debated in Holyrood today, has failed to mention the list of crises being faced by health boards in their provision of mental health services.
The debate comes as Liberal Democrats reveal that over 16,500 NHS staff have been signed off work with mental health problems in the past two years. The figures, obtained by the Scottish Liberal Democrats using freedom of information laws, showed that in 2013/14, 788 NHS staff were signed off for stress-related reasons for a period of between three and six months.
Scottish Liberal Democrats have consistently called on the SNP to enshrine in law the equal treatment between mental and physical ill health in order to tackle the stigma attached to mental health and improve provison.
Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Jim Hume MSP said:
“It’s time the SNP Government faced the facts on mental health provision in Scotland. SNP ministers have been in government for seven years but barely anything has been done to improve problems that will affect one in four Scots at some point in their lives.
“Today we have revealed that 16,500 NHS staff have been unable to work at some point in the past two years because of mental health problems. This is another shocking figure which sheds more light on mental health problems in Scotland.
“Too many people are facing unacceptably long waits for treatment and children are being treated in inappropriate wards because of a shortage of both staff and capacity. I’m concerned that these figures may also show that NHS staff are bearing the brunt of SNP mismanagement of our hospitals.
“I will be challenging SNP ministers to set out plans for action to ensure our health service reflects the reality of problems faced by patients. So far their approach to mental health provision has fallen woefully short. It is clear that only Scottish Liberal Democrats will build a fairer society by giving mental health services the support they deserve. ”