Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie today said the SNP’s approach to mental ill health takes complacency to new levels as he revealed that £70m of funding announced for mental health last year remains unallocated.
Figures provided to Liberal Democrats by the Scottish Government show that just £80m of the £150m announced for mental health by the SNP in 2015 has been allocated for specific purposes. Civil servants revealed that the remainder of the funding is set to remain unallocated until a new mental health strategy is in place. Scotland’s last mental health strategy expired at the end of 2015 and is yet to be replaced.
The Scottish Liberal Democrat manifesto included plans for a step change in the way we treat mental ill health in Scotland, doubling resources for child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) and providing GPs and A&E departments with new mental health support.
Commenting, Mr Rennie said:
“Last year the SNP announced £150 million in funding for mental health with great fanfare but we are now in the middle of 2016 and we still have no idea how half of it is going to be spent. Almost £70m remains unallocated. Meanwhile, children are still being asked to wait more than a year for crucial treatments. This is just not good enough.
“Scotland’s last mental health strategy expired at the end of last year, and we don’t know when the next one will be introduced. The share of the NHS budget we spend treating mental ill health has fallen every year since 2009. The SNP’s approach to mental ill health takes complacency to new levels.
“Liberal Democrats have been clear that we need a step change in the way that we treat mental ill health in Scotland. That is why we would double funding for CAMHS, embed 960 new mental health professionals with GPs and put new mental health support in A&E departments.
“People struggling with mental ill health cannot wait on the SNP to deliver the support they need.”