Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Jim Hume MSP has called on the Scottish Government to step up its support for mental health services after figures published today showed one in five patients face waiting of over 18 weeks to start treatment for psychological therapies.
Figures showed that 81.3 percent of patients were treated within 18 weeks, which falls below the Scottish Government's HEAT target for 90 percent of patients to be treated within 18 weeks by December this year.
The figures come days after RCN Scotland highlighted a 17 percent fall in the number of staffed mental health beds across Scotland since 2010. It also found that the NHS in Scotland lost 64 mental health nurses.
Mr Hume said:
"While more patients are being treated in the community it is clear that this does not automatically remove pressure from our health services. It is difficult to see how the Scottish Government has any hope of meeting its own target due for delivery next month unless they radically step up support for mental health services.
"RCN Scotland, SamH and other charities have warned about the lack of specialist nurses, beds and support in the community for mental health services. Given that one in four will experience a mental health problem through their lifetime our NHS should reflect that. Scottish Liberal Democrats will be urging the new First Minister to enshrine parity in law between the treatment of mental and physical ill health."