Cole-Hamilton: Short-sighted decision-making threatens mental health care

Speaking in response to reports that bed shortages mean psychiatrists in Glasgow are routinely sending patients experiencing mental ill health up to 170 miles for treatment, Scottish Liberal Democrats health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP sharply criticised the Scottish Government for neglecting mental health care.

Under the SNP Government the share of the NHS budget dedicated to mental health has fallen. The number of beds available for patients with mental health conditions has dropped by 6% in the past 3 years, despite a 96% occupancy rate in Greater Glasgow and Clyde. 

Mr Cole-Hamilton said:

“As a result of increased demand for its services and short-sighted decision-making from SNP ministers we now have an NHS which is under real pressure. It’s clear that mental health units across the country are struggling to cope.

“It is scandalous that patients in Glasgow are having to travel to Inverness for a bed. We already know children suffering from mental ill health routinely have to travel for care because there are no specialist beds for them north of Dundee.

“This is further proof that we need a step change in the way that we support people experiencing mental ill health. The SNP should never have allowed our mental health strategy to expire last year or reduced the share of the NHS budget spent in this area. That is why we need a fresh strategy, record levels of funding and a mental health practitioner for every GP surgery, making it easier and quicker for patients to access therapies.”

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