Extended waits for alcohol and drug treatment could have “serious consequences”

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has today called on the government to take urgent steps to “transform the way we approach alcohol and drug misuse”, after new figures showed three of Scotland’s biggest health boards breaching the treatment time target.

The Scottish Government’s Local Delivery Plan standard for drug and alcohol treatment states that 90% of people needing help with drug or alcohol problems will wait no longer than three weeks for treatment, which will support their recovery.

NHS Lothian, NHS Grampian and NHS Highland have failed to meet that target. NHS Lothian has consistently failed to meet this 90% target since 2015. In the quarter ending December 2018 just 81% of its patients were treated within 3 weeks.

Alex Cole-Hamilton commented:

“It’s disappointing to see three of Scotland’s biggest health boards falling short of this critical target.

“Extended waits for those in urgent need can have serious consequences not only for them, but also for those close to them.

“The Scottish Government should adopt the Liberal Democrats’ 10-point plan to transform the way we approach alcohol and drug misuse, including a commitment to protect the budgets of services. Services can’t afford a repeat of the 20% cut ministers made in 2016/17 - a mistake they are still recovering from.”

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