Cole-Hamilton calls for psychological therapy boost

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP today called for a step change in mental health treatment in Scotland as new figures revealed that waiting time targets for psychological therapies have been missed.

New figures from ISD Scotland revealed that just 5 of Scotland’s health boards met an 18 week treatment time target in the second quarter of the year. In Forth Valley, almost half of patients were not seen within 18 weeks.

One third of patients in Grampian were forced to wait longer than 18 weeks to be seen and analysis showed that in Lothian, almost 100 patients who were seen had been waiting more than a year.

The Scottish Government’s target is for 90% of people to start psychological treatments within 18 weeks.

Commenting, Mr Cole-Hamilton said:

“We have heard a lot from the Scottish Government on mental health but we are still not hitting our targets. Almost 100 people in Lothian alone were forced to wait more than a year for treatment. Many more patients in Highland had waited more than a year but were yet to be seen. This is wholly unacceptable. Vulnerable people struggling with mental ill health deserve better.

“We need a step change in the way we support mental health professionals to ensure that patients are getting the help they need at the time they need it.

“No-one should be left more than a year to access the care they need. It would not be acceptable for physical illness. We should not accept it for mental illnesses either.”

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