Time for action on mental health services

Scottish Liberal Democrats have warned that the provision of two key mental health laws implemented by Scottish Liberal Democrats in coalition government risk falling by the wayside unless the Scottish Government takes immediate action to support key mental health services.


Two damning reports published today by the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland show that patient care is being hindered by an array of different pressures in specialist social work services and psychiatric hospitals.

The reports on the implementation of the Mental Health Act and the Adults with Incapacity Act show showed:

·         An increase in the number of children with mental health problems being admitted to non-specialist wards, including adult wards

·         28 percent of private guardians elected under the provisions of the Adults with Incapacity Act appeared to have had no supervisory visits from their local authority supervisor in the previous six months

·         A five percent fall in Mental Health Officer consent for emergency detention – required unless impracticable – with 63 percent of emergency detention certificates achieved  in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde without consent, and 51 percent in Dumfries and Galloway

·         A shortage of social circumstance reports required by the Mental Health Act, which the commission highlights as a concerning indication that key services are struggling to cope with the duties of these key mental health laws.

At First Minister’s Questions today, Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Jim Hume MSP called on the First Minister to match the UK Government’s ambition with more action from the Scottish Government.

Speaking after First Minister’s Questions, Mr Hume said:

“I am proud that some of the earliest legislative acts of the new Scottish Parliament were focussed on mental health. The Mental Health Act and the Adults with Incapacity Act safeguarded the welfare of adults and gave more people with mental ill health the opportunities they need to get on in life.

“These worrying reports indicate that mental health services are facing considerable pressure under the SNP. With more children being admitted to non-specialist wards, falling required consents from Mental Health Officers for emergency detentions and a shortage of key social circumstances report it seems that health and social care services do not have the support they need to provide the best patient care. That is an unacceptable direction of travel for patients and their families.

“For too long the provision of mental health care has been left in the shadows. Scottish Liberal Democrats will continue to pressure the Scottish Government to take immediate action to support key mental health services. These important protections for individuals cannot be allowed to fall by the wayside.

“Today I urged the First Minister to match the UK Government in its increased funding of mental health services. This is in addition to our calls for the SNP to enshrine in law parity between mental and physical health.”


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