Hume: Psychological therapy waiting times are an embarrassment for Scotland

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesman Jim Hume MSP has said figures published today that show hundreds of people have to wait over a year for psychological therapies are an embarrassment for Scotland.

The Scottish Government’s target is for 90% of people to start psychological treatments within 18 weeks. In the final quarter of 2015 only 83.5% of patients started their treatment within that time. In four health boards (NHS Lothian, NHS Borders, NHS Dumfries & Galloway, and NHS Ayrshire & Arran) performance dropped below 70%.

The figures have been published on the same day as statistics showing that dozens of children have also had to wait over a year for mental health treatment.

Mr Hume said: “These figures are an embarrassment for Scotland. Vulnerable people suffering from mental ill health can have real difficulty understanding and coping with their illness and it is completely unacceptable that they are having to wait over a year for treatment.

“The hard work of those working in mental health services is to be commended but they cannot be expected to keep struggling on alone. Only three health boards have met the government’s target for waiting times and in some areas not even 70% of patients started treatment within 18 weeks.

“Liberal Democrats are clear that a step-change is needed in the way mental health services are provided in Scotland but instead of getting closer, that day seems to be running further and faster away. These figures should be the jolt that wakes up SNP Ministers from their malaise – Scots with mental health issues deserve so much more from their government.”

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