I've called for a step change in mental health after new statistics exposed the size of the health gap between the most deprived and least deprived areas.
Official statistics published today revealed “significant health inequalities persist for each indicator”. To make matters worse, the gap has widened significantly in two measures since 2008/09 – limiting long term-conditions which includes mental health (where the gap increased by 39%) and self-assessed health (up by 47%).
Other health statistics out today showed that twice as many contacts were made to emergency and urgent care services by individuals living in Scotland’s most deprived areas compared to the least deprived.
These statistics confirm that not enough is being done to tackle stubborn and destructive health inequalities.
For example, we know that people from more deprived areas are far more likely to experience mental ill health, which can greatly inhibit their chances of getting on in life. Despite widening inequalities in this area, the Scottish Government allowed our once world-leading mental health strategy to expire 15 months ago and failed to deliver transformative investment in its budget.
That is why it is so important that the SNP Government finally delivers the step change we so desperately need in mental health services, starting with practitioners who can provide treatment at every GP surgery. It must also add to the resources available to GPs in our most deprived areas.