Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP today revealed that adults have waited years for psychological therapies and said the "shocking" figures demanded a stepchange in how we treat mental health.
New statistics acquired by the party through freedom of information requests have shown Grampian, Fife, Tayside, Ayrshire & Arran, Shetland and Lothian all recording cases of adults waiting over 600 days since 2015/16.
They include people waiting:
- 1589 days (4.3 years) in Grampian before starting treatment in 2015/16;
- 791 days in Ayrshire and Arran in 2017-18;
- 735 days in Shetland in 2017-18;
- 687 days in Tayside in 2017-18;
- 651 days in Fife currently;
NHS Lothian reported 20 people waiting 2 years or more in 2017.
Dumfries and Galloway and Greater Glasgow and Clyde also reported patients waiting around a year and a half for treatment.
Following the publication of the new figures, Alex Cole-Hamilton commented:
"These new figures are absolutely shocking.
"Liberal Democrats revealed this week that 1000 adults waited over a year for the treatment they needed in 2017/18 - twice as many as when the Mental Health Minister was appointed. Now we know that some amongst them have waited far longer.
“Waits like this must feel like a lifetime for those suffering from mental ill health. The misery it causes leaves families in limbo.
"By pretty much every measure, the state of mental health services have declined in Scotland since Maureen Watt took up her post two years ago. She should be ashamed.
“Staff are doing their best but they can only work within the confines of the limited resources they are given. The urgency and scale of the policies and investment that we need is nowhere to be seen. The fact the SNP Government allowed the mental health strategy to expire and didn't replace it for 15 months says it all.
“The Liberal Democrats have a positive vision for mental health care in this country and policies that will end the scandal of long waits and long journeys for treatment. The Government should start by putting mental health practitioners in every GP surgery and A&E in the country so that people can get help fast when they need it."