Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie today said his party’s plans to introduce full-time emergency mental health support in A&E units are vital to delivering a step change in the way we treat mental health in Scotland.
Highlighting new figures which show that the Scottish Ambulance Service has responded to nearly 100,000 incidents involving people experiencing a mental health crisis since 2007, Mr Rennie said that boosting emergency care will help ensure vulnerable people get the support they need as soon as possible.
The Liberal Democrat manifesto published last week included a commitment to introducing 24/7 mental health support in Scotland’s A&E units. Mr Rennie’s party has also proposed changes that would see mental health professionals work in Scotland’s police and prison services as part of a mental health rapid reaction force.
Commenting, Mr Rennie said: “These figures show that ambulances have responded to people reporting mental ill health on nearly 100,000 occasions since the SNP came into government. But when these patients get to A&E, they will often face a long wait for support from overstretched mental health professionals.
“These vulnerable people can’t wait on the SNP any longer. Liberal Democrats want a step change in the way that we treat mental health in Scotland. That is why we would put dedicated, 24/7 mental health support into A&E units across the country. This would make an enormous difference and ensure that people get the treatment they need as soon as possible.
“Liberal Democrats want Scotland’s NHS to be the best again. That will not happen unless we start taking mental ill health seriously. We have seen the proportion of the NHS budget spent treating mental ill health fall year on year since 2009. We will reverse this damaging downwards spiral.”